Saturday 31 March 2018

Native: Art & Design With Australian Plants

Native: Art and Design With Australian Plants by Kate Herd and Jela Ivankovic-Waters is one of those gorgeous coffee table books that deserves to be thumbed over and referenced on a regular basis.

Actually it's much more than a mere coffee table book. It's full of delicious, inspiring Australian landscapes and gardens that left me drooling with possibility and anticipation. It has practical advice, plant tips and loads of creative design. It's also a love letter to the Australian environment as Kate and Jela,

'realised the possibilities for using Australian plants has moved beyond the traditional 'bush garden' aesthetic so often associated with natives.'

They believe that the best solution is to use plants indigenous to your local area, but they are not always easy to source or readily available to the average gardener. The next best option then is to focus on Australian natives in general. They require little water and fertiliser, they attract native birds & animals and are often more resilient. Using non-indigenous species to your area may have the added advantage of ensuring a species survival if conditions change in their own native region.

We have presented the information so as to encourage an adventurous approach to our native flora, and celebrate the versatility and creative potential of Australian plants.

They consider design, shape, foliage, shade, colour and texture. They explore different varieties and provide lots of beautiful images of individual plants as well as much larger gardens.

The benefits of pruning are discussed (yippee! I love pruning, but many people believe you shouldn't prune natives).

Sculptor, Tracey Deep is featured as are some of her stunning floral & plant sculptures. One day I hope to have enough time to explore this more creative side of native gardening even more.

With a new native garden of my very own to design and plant out, this book has been a timely and useful inspiration. I definitely want to get more banksias, dianellas. grevilleas, grass trees, granite claw flowers, woolly bush (I have a thing for silvery leaves), kangaroo grass and waratahs into my garden. I love a splash of colour in amongst all that lovely green.

Watch this space!

Native was the winner of the 2018 Indie Book Illustrated Non-Fiction Award.


  1. Flowers that will not be in my garden....but I can enjoy this book. I try to request it for our library. Perhaps they will invest a few euros!
    Good news: I still have lots of tulips to enjoy at 'bargin basement' prices! We're drowning in tulips now!

    1. Ahhh, but I can't grow tulips - Sydney just doesn't get cold enough! perhaps you can show us a pic of them on twitter :-)

  2. This seems like a beautiful book and it seems like a lot of fun that you'll actually get to apply what you've learned! I'll be excited to live somewhere I can more easily have a garden some day :)

    1. I can't wait for more gardening time either! Looking forward to spring already.


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