As strange as it may seem, native plants weren’t always highly prized among gardeners in Australia. When the country was first settled many years ago, English gardening techniques were largely used. From there, many people attempted to use non-native plants in their gardening. Learn more about this evolution by reading on below.
Early Australian Gardens –
At the time of the very first settlements in Australia, the English Landscaping School – led by Capability Brown – was in its heyday. As a result, the earliest gardens in Australia were of the “squared” variety. As the name suggests, this style is characterised by a lot of simple geometry. A very ordered and organised formula was used to create this look, with straight, clean lines and other very elementary features.
The Colony Grows –
As the Australian colony began to grow and prosper; ideas about gardening began to change. A freer, less geometric style began taking hold throughout the settlement. Clumps of trees and wide, sweeping lawns were among the most popular features in use at that time. Unlike in England, where the enhancement of natural features was very popular, Australian landscaping ignored the natural lay of the land and attempted to subvert it in many ways. It could be said that the gardens from this time period rejected native plants and features and tried to create something wholly new.
The Tide Begins to Turn –
In 1830, a Scott named Thomas Shepherd arrived in Australia. Like so many of today’s landscape gardeners, Shepherd abhorred the practice of destroying the natural landscape of the region. Many believe that his views and opinions became the turning point where many gardeners began to embrace the beauty of Australia’s native landscaping features and native plants. Prior to that, a large majority of Australian botanists and gardeners were attempting to enforce an unnatural appearance on man made landscaping. Shepherd saw that doing so was foolhardy and irresponsible, and was quite vocal about it.
Australia’s Native Plants Take Centre Stage –
Australia’s leading authors and botanists became increasingly supportive of our natural landscapes and native plants during the early part of the twentieth century. This trend continued and really intensified following the Second World War, when a surge of nationalism prompted people throughout Australia to view native plants in a whole new light. Today, of course, we know that native plants are the best choice for the environment – and that they are positively lovely, too. If you’re going to redesign your home’s outdoor landscaping, always choose native plants.