Michael Bates, arguably the most enterprising landscape contractor in the Sydney region, reflects on his education as a gardener in this excerpt from his recent book, The New Australian Garden.
“As I stand in my lounge room, with the fire lit and a nice single-malt whisky on the coffee table, I survey my library in preparation for writing this introduction. A warm sense of wellbeing washes over me as I think about the decades spent collecting these books, and the hours devoted to arranging and rearranging them into groups – an impossible and endlessly pleasurable task.
These quiet evenings – usually solitary, but sometimes shared with a few other gardeners – are a great joy. Books are strewn about, open on top of each other. Ideas flow, with no pressure to produce anything or to devise a creative solution to a difficult situation. There’s just an immersion in garden images, places for the mind to wander aimlessly.”