The artist, Linda Tegg, has reminded Melbourne of its own history in her installation, Grasslands, which graces the steps of the State Library of Victoria.
Grasslands shows the citizens of Melbourne the predominant flora, the grassy woodlands, that extended across much of what is now inner urban and suburban Melbourne. The juxtapositioning of the installation against one of the buildings that most reminds us of our European cultural heritage is asking us questions about change, colonial contact with indigenous culture and the devastation of pre European indigenous landscapes. When both library and grassland are considered in the context of a modern city and its relentless taste for development, the reminder of a long forgotten natural world is like a breath of fresh air.
It’s on until the 23rd November and after that time the plants will be given away to winners of the #librarygrasslands Instagram competition.
A great swathe of indigenous grasses that would once have grown naturally across much of Melbourne before 1835.
Redmond Barry looks down on the kangaroo grass and other species. I’m not sure whether he approves or not.
It’s not all about the poaceae; these bulbine lilies, dichondra and trigger plants contribute to the tapestry.
This young blackwood (Acacia melanoxylon) forms a subtle focal point amidst the ebb and flow.
Brunonia and anthropodium twinkling amidst the grasses.
The thyrsus was a symbolic implement from ancient times made of a rod with a pine cone fixed on the top. It was associated with Bacchus or Dionysus, and in the midst of this silly season and the Spring Carnival in Melbourne, when Dionysus’ bacchanalian cult seems to be active at every Cup Day barbecue and racing event, it is quite fitting to be reminded of it by a rather upright planting in the Fitzroy Gardens this sunny spring afternoon.
The radiant golden racemes of the Wachendorfia thyrsiflora (where the thyrsus reference comes from) are in full splendour at the moment. The timing of this planting to coincide with the stunning Doryanthes exelsa’s flowers (towering above on their immense stem) is impressive.
Both are fairly tough plants as long as they have adequate water (I find the Wachendorfia won’t flower if it dries out). If you want to find out more, check out the links below.