Friday, April 27, 2012

1950's Brisbane gardening

A Brisbane garden featured on the cover of Gardening in Warm Climates by Desmond Herbert (1898-1976) photographed by Frank Hurley (1885-1962) and published in 1952. Plants include: Mango tree, Cooktown orchid, King orchid, Elk and Staghorns,  Bougainvillea 'Scarlet O'Hara', Orange and yellow leaf Crotons, orange Crucifix orchids, red Dahlias, purple Lantana montevidensis growing up a Cocos palm.

 Desmond Herbert's book on gardening in Brisbane gives a unique insight into the style of gardens and plants which were popular there the middle of last Century. It was written while he was Professor of Botany at the University of Queensland and the photographs throughout, apart from the cover, were taken by John Bailey (1914-1956) who was Curator of the Brisbane Botanic Gardens. While Brisbane was then regarded as little more than a dusty country town, the photographs reveal a sophisticated garden city. This is a book I still dip into from time to time and value as an interesting information source.

 Once commonly found on the coastal 'wallum' swamps of Bribie Island and the Sunshine Coast, Christmas bells, Blandfordia species were picked into extinction and had all but disappeared by the 1970's.

Spanish style wrought iron gate with hedge, clipped cypresses and feathery Cocos plumosa in the background

Beloved by parrots who get drunk on the nectar from the 'octopus' red flowers, the Queensland Umbrella tree, Brassaia actinophylla, has fallen from grace and is no longer a popular street tree.

 When backyards were big. Bunya Pine, Araucaria bidwilli, with a mass planting of the white Azalea alba magna

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