Pleasure Garden

a listening garden
by Genevieve Lacey

Royal Melbourne Botanic Gardens

Birdwood Avenue, Melbourne VIC 3000, Australia
18 March — 7 April 2019

Melbourne’s Botanic Gardens are dear to the city’s inhabitants, a place of childhood adventures, romantic trysts, family picnics, long summer evenings, and tranquil times reading in the shade of one of the many noble trees.

Established in 1846 by Lieutenant Governor Charles La Trobe, they began life as a swampy site, and are now recognised as one of the most significant gardens and plant collections in Australia. The National Herbarium of Victoria was established in the 1850s by then Director, Ferdinand von Mueller, who also built the foundations of what is today one of Australia’s most important dried plant, algae and fungi collections. In 1873 Mueller was succeeded by William Guilfoyle, whose vision shaped the gardens enjoyed today, with their scenic panoramas and sweeping lawns. He was inspired by sub-tropical plants and used many of them in his landscapes, including flaxes and cordylines from New Zealand, palms, and other foliage plants. Among his creations are the recently restored Fern Gully, rockeries, picturesque shelters, the Temple of the Winds (a memorial to La Trobe) and the Ornamental Lake. His volcano has been restored as an important part of Melbourne Gardens’ water management program. Professor Timothy Entwisle has been the head of the Royal Botanic Gardens since 2013.

Pleasure Garden took place in the Water Conservation Garden in a balmy autumn, nestled in drought-resistant garden beds, among burnished grasses, looking down onto the Yarra and the city below.

Angus Kemp
Angus Kemp

Our thanks to collaborators around the world who have brought Pleasure Garden to life:

Jane Davidson and the Australian Research Council’s Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions, Australia Council for the Arts, Malgosia Fiebig, City Carillonneur of Utrecht, Toby Chadd and ABC Classics, Sheena Boughen and the Four Winds community, Music Norway, Lou Oppenheim and Circus Oz, Graham Pushee and Arts Management, Atticus Bastow, Nick Roux, Ann Lacey, Francine Tanner, Jude Gun, Steven Richardson, Nicole Newman, Fiona Blair, Damon Young, Pat Hockey, Greg Lyons, Adam Gibson, Joseph Browning, Madeleine Flynn, Tim Humphrey, Australian Performing Arts Market; Criss Canning and David Glenn of Lambley Garden; Fiona Winning, Lieven Bertels and Sydney Festival, Ed Champion and staff at Vaucluse House, Sydney Living Museums; Kara Ward, Emer Harrington, Catherine Ashton, Mark Lowrey, Lillian Desormeaux, Adele Conlin and Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne; Daniel Brine, Mark Denbigh and the team at Norfolk and Norwich Festival; Paul Forecast, Alastair Bradshaw, Tina Hammond and all at Felbrigg Hall; Suzie Curtis, Kate Robinson, Huw Humphries, Paul Keene, Sarah Hickling, Miko Malkowski and all at The Charterhouse and The Barbican; Tim Bifield, Anna Casey, Rachel Smith, Rebecca Driver, Sheila Pott and all at Salters' Yard; Michael Schneider, Patrick Schellenberg and all at Boswil; Jane Marriott, Nicola Stephenson, Trevor Nicholson and the team at Harewood; Matias Häkkinen, Sanni Antikainen and the team and community of BarokkiKuopio Early Music Festival, Kuopio; Ricciarda Belgiojoso, Corrado Beldi, Mattia Cavazzana, Chiara Gozzi, Enrico Bettinello and all at NU festival, as well as Igor Festari and the community at Museo di Storia Naturale Faraggiana Ferrandi, Novara.