Author archive

The Natural Garden

The Natural Garden About the book

Ellis Stones got involved with gardens (working for Edna Walling in Victoria) in the mid-1930s, when he was 40 years old. He then set up his own business and for the next four decades, shared his immense talent.

Ellis — known as ‘Rocky’ — loved the countryside. He worked with structural materials like water, timber and (especially) rock and stone, making him one of Australia’s earliest exponents of gardens that appeared natural, rather than ‘designed’.

He respected, and was inspired by, the landscape.

And by people. ‘Gardens are for people’, he wrote in 1946, advising his staff to ‘look at the people before you look at the garden.’

Viking O’Neil, Melbourne 1990. Out of print, used copies at or

The Natural GardenRocks were Ellis Stones’s favourite landscape element

The Natural Garden‘No garden is too small to have water in it’

The Natural GardenGentle stone steps open up a long, light-filled view

Kindred Spirits

Kindred Spirits About the book

Jean Galbraith and Joan Law-Smith crossed paths by chance in 1964. Joan (Lady Law-Smith) wanted to become a botanical artist, and needed to learn basic botany. Jean — an impecunious but noted amateur botanist, naturalist and writer — was suggested as her tutor.

This book reprints Jean’s hand-written botany lessons, and Joan’s botanical drawings and paintings. It traces their lives, their thoughts and ideas, their letters to each other, their individual contributions to garden history in Australia.

They may have lived worlds apart, but they were kindred spirits.

Australian Garden History Society [AGHS], Melbourne 1999.


Kindred Spirits

Stooked oats around the Galbraith family home, ‘Dunedin’, c.1915

Kindred Spirits

Joan Law-Smith reveals the delicate geometry of a fritillary

Kindred Spirits

Bulbs flower in late winter at the Law-Smith family home, ‘Bolobek’, c. 1970s

Kindred Spirits

Jean’s receipt for Joan’s payment for her botany lessons, 1964

Kindred Spirits

Joan Law-Smith (nee Darling) in England, c. 1934 (left) – Jean Galbraith, 1970 (right)

Garden of a Lifetime

Garden of a Lifetime About the book

How many people have owned — and cared for — a garden for more than eight decades? Dame Elisabeth Murdoch did, as steward of Cruden Farm — near Langwarrin, south-east of Melbourne — from 1929 until her death in 2011.

This book takes readers on a journey around the garden, and traces its evolution. It tells Dame Elisabeth’s fascinating life story. It extracts relevant messages, and gardening tips, from diaries meticulously kept by long-serving gardener Michael Morrison.

Gardens are about people, as well as about plants. Dame Elisabeth understood this as she generously shared ‘Cruden Farm’ with the public over many years. Her legacy continues.

Published by Pan Macmillan, Sydney — 2007, 2008, 2010, 2013


Commemorative edition at bookstores including Avoca Hill BookstoreReadings, The Novel Idea, My Bookshop

Garden of a LifetimeDame Elisabeth Murdoch picks daffodils in her garden

Garden of a LifetimeA long view across the lake at Cruden Farm

Garden of a LifetimeGardens are places for flowers – white broom and deep blue ceanothus – trees, grass and birds

Garden of a LifetimeSilver-trunked eucalypts delineate the Cruden Farm driveway

Garden of a LifetimeLush planting of lilies and Hosta sieboldiana

Garden Voices

Garden Voices Latest book

What can we learn from Australian garden designers — their life stories, the work that they do, the ideas that underpin it?

Plenty! Garden Voices is a voyage of discovery, especially when the designers are historic figures and current practitioners, well-known and less well-known.

Drawn from around Australia, they create private gardens and public landscapes that fit the place(s) where they work — and that respond to the land, the soil, and the aspect, whether city or country.

They are creative, artistic, responsive — and practical. This book shares their message in the hope that readers will learn from it.

Who are they?

Marion Blackwell, Fiona Brockhoff, Craig Burton, Torquil Canning, Viesturs Cielens, Walter Burley Griffin, William Guilfoyle, Kitty Henry, Karl Langer, David Leech, Bruce Mackenzie, Betty Maloney & Jean Walker, Jim Sinatra & Phin Murphy, Vladimir Sitta, Ellis Stones, John Sullivan, Kevin Taylor, Kate Cullity & Perry Lethlean, Bernard Trainor, Edna Walling

Published by Bloomings Books.


Also available in England, USA and Australia at Avoca Hill BookstoreReadings, My Bookshop, Florilegium, The Novel Idea, The Avenue Bookstore.

Garden VoicesPalms give depth and perspective to a John Sullivan garden in Port Douglas, Far North Queensland

Garden VoicesWisteria sets off an Edna Walling house and garden at Bickleigh Vale, Mooroolbark, Victoria

Garden VoicesSinatra Murphy’s artistic interpretation of sawfly larvae in a towering eucalypt at Werribee Park, Victoria

Garden VoicesBernard Trainor applies his Australian landscape perspective to a seaside garden in California, USA

Garden VoicesWilliam Guilfoyle, c. 1880 (left) – Kitty Henry, c. 1930s (right)

Garden VoicesFiona Brockhoff (left) – John Sullivan (right)