MainGardenPicIn the Anthropocene, the geological age in which human activity has become the dominant influence on climate and the environment, gardening is one of those “little optimistic gestures” we can make as we go about our daily lives. Such gestures engender hope and provide pleasure – a pleasure that is distinct from crass materialism and an ethic of consumption.

This blog argues for new forms of gardens that explore an ethic of care, environmental healing and poetic connectedness. My writing explores ways to adapt designs by ecologically aware European designers such as Piet Oudolf to Australian conditions. I also propose incorporating species-specific habitats in gardens such as “insect hotels” to promote flourishing ecosystems.

My garden is named Allusive Fields because, like Barthes, I believe in the power of allusion. I grow not only decorative plants but also organic vegetables, soft fruit and fruit trees because, like Epicurus, I regard growing my own food as an act of resistance. And although vegetal life is essential to our existence, I believe it has an intrinsic value and importance in its own right. Allusive Fields combines these aspects of gardening with eco-poetics, placing quotes from eco-poetry throughout the garden to enhance awareness of what “dwells beneath the surface of things.”

Lorraine Shannon
April 2016