Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Kevin Taylor and his poetry created a great Australian Garden


This is from Secrets of Lightness, seven glass panels inscribed with the words of Kevin Taylor. Fragments of poems in a botanic garden.

Kevin Taylor (1953-2011) was one of the designers and creative minds behind new Australian Garden at Royal Botanic Gardens Cranbourne. Kevin was also a poet. He used the process of writing poems to help him conceive and design the kinds of inspiring landscapes you can see in the Australian Garden.



Secrets of Lightness honours his contribution to the Australian Garden and to garden design and life more broadly. Keven died in a car accident in August 2011 and his partner Kate Cullity, at the suggestion of my predecessor as Director, Phil Moors, agreed to this beautiful memorial.

Many of you will recognise the hand of Janet Laurence in this work. It's a collaborative effort between Janet, Kate and an engineer David Lancashire. Others were involved, including another garden designer involved in the Australian Garden, Paul Thompson, and many of our staff. You can see how well it sits with a backdrop of grey-green eucalypts.


The memorial, and artwork, was unveiled a few weeks ago in the Box Garden, part of the Eucalypt Walk and my favourite part of the Australian Garden. Also I learned, Kevin's.

The final stage of the Australian Garden was opened in October last year, 17 years after Taylor Cullity were engaged to lead the project, in association with Paul Thompson. (Perry Lethlean joined Kevin Taylor and Kate Cullity during the project, forming Taylor Cullity Lethlean.)

At the unveiling we had Phil Moors and Perry Lethlean talk about Kevin Taylor and his legacy, and Kate Cullity read some of Kevin's poems, including lines from Secrets of Lightness...

      "Those who live in the shadow of gravity employ the secrets of lightness to survive. 
      The feathery canopies of red gums dance."

I also like one of Kevin's more prosaic descriptions of the Australian Garden, where he says it will inspire visitor to "further explore Australian plants...through surprise, humour, awe or reverence". And all of the above together I would add.

This was a day for contemplation.


Images: From my phone except the first and last (Phil and Tim) which are far more expertly shot by Luke Saffigna, Visitor Programs Officer at Royal Botanic Gardens Cranbourne.

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