Monday, July 16, 2012

Sunday's Garden: growing Heide

Lesley Harding and Kendrah Morgan have created a beautiful book about the gardens creted by Sunday Reed and her family and friends at Heide. Sunday and John Reed moved to their new home, Heide, a former dairy farm in 1934 and during the following 47 years lived at and developed the property, particularly the gardens. The area near the Yarra River was near the location of sites painted by Tom Roberts, Frederick McCubbin and Arthur Streeton, members of the impressionist movement in Australia from the 1880s - the Heidelberg School. It is only fitting therefore that the area maintained its associations with art when the Reeds with their interest in modern art invited artists including Sidney Nolan, Arthur Tucker and Joy Hester to visit them and Heide and also help form the gardens first at Heide I and then at Heide II. Neil Douglas from Bayswater spent many years helping establish the original Heide gardens. Initially English plants were tried but later especially from the 70s, more and more Australian plants were introduced. A later chapter looks at the development of Heide as a focus for the arts in context with other arts based settlements including Monsalvat, Open Country at Murrumbeena and Stonygrad at Warrandyte. In the 1980s Heide II was sold to the Victorian government and now forms the Heide Museum of Modern Art at Bulleen.  A timeline at the end of the book is followed by short biographies of most of the people mentioned. Richly illustrated with photographs this book will appeal to a reader interested in the development of gardens as well as anyone interested in the influence of the Sunday and John Reed on Australian art in the twentieth century.

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