Lantern Garden

When we lived in Eumundi, I spent a great deal of time drawing the local scenery.





















The reason this picture is poignant is that it is set in a garden which is now magnificent, a series of green rooms, extraordinary design. You can’t really see it from the road. The man who developed the poor land this garden now sits on was a plant genius. He did all the groundwork and much of the planting. Mark, Jen and I would visit him there, and met his wife and young son. He had an phenomenal knowledge of plants, I walked up Mt Cooroy with him once, and he kept exhorting not to step on this rare such and such, or that unusual species of whatever it was. Latin names only of course. Marvellous as he was at plants, he seemed not to fit in the modern world somehow, and not very successful in his personal life, either. Once the couple divorced, the place was sold, and his fabulous garden was made even more lovely by the new people. The new owners let me in with a model to draw. I saw the place he had wrestled from scrub into such beauty, and it made a little theatrical backdrop for my painting.

Think whatever you may like of this story, mostly I think of the idea of a man who loved plants who could not plant his life there. It reminds me of a strange short story by Steinbeck which had this theme. Very moving!



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