Go wild in back­yard to nur­ture growth

Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - HOME - Janita Singh Disobe­di­ent Gar­dens by Michael Cooke & Brigid Arnott (Mur­doch Books) RRP $59.99

GAR­DENS don’t al­ways have to be per­fect.

They can be a lit­tle wild, wil­ful and disobe­di­ent, land­scape de­signer and au­thor Michael Cooke says.

Cooke shares this phi­los­o­phy on de­sign in his new book Disobe­di­ent Gar­dens (Land­scapes of con­trast and con­tra­dic­tion).

“I pre­fer gar­dens that are al­lowed to show their per­son­al­ity and in­ner spirit,’’ Cooke says.

“I con­sider a way­ward ten­dril OK, or ap­pre­ci­ate a branch that over­hangs a path and a faded bloom that’s al­lowed to go to seed.

“Too many con­tem­po­rary gar­dens are straight and up­tight.”

In Disobe­di­ent Gar­dens, Cooke show­cases five gar­dens, in­clud­ing his own, which are il­lus­trated by the beau­ti­ful pho­to­graphs taken by co-au­thor Brigid Arnott.

Each of the gar­dens fea­tures el­e­ments of wild­ness com­bined with a de­gree of or­der. The gar­dens may be mag­nif­i­cent, but they all have an or­ganic qual­ity, imperfection and a de­gree of “dis­obe­di­ence’ that makes them dis­tinc­tive and com­pelling.

Cooke says gar­dens should be al­lowed to grow and evolve in the same way as re­la­tion­ships do.

“To be­gin with it’s usu­ally su­per­fi­cial — all first im­pres­sions and ap­pear­ance,” he says.

“How­ever, over time, if a gar­den is nur­tured it ma­tures and de­vel­ops char­ac­ter, per­son­al­ity and depth … a great gar­den has lay­ers of in­ter­est.’’

The mes­sage be­hind his sec­ond book (his first book was called Time in the Gar­den) is to en­cour­age peo­ple to see their gar­den less as hard work and more as a place of en­joy­ment.

“And learn pa­tience — gar­dens take time.’’

Gar­dens should be al­lowed to be a lit­tle disobe­di­ent says au­thor Michael Cooke. Im­age:

Disobe­di­ent Gar­dens (Mur­doch Books) RRP $59.99.

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