James Beattie

I have just dug over the vegetable garden for the first time since Winter’s arrival. Abundant crops of lemons and mandarins ripen nicely on our citrus trees. The weather, although frosty, has been bright and clear. And I am eyeing up our hedge for cutting. With my thoughts at last turning to the garden again, it is entirely appropriate, I think, that this year’s issue begins with a review article by Walter Cook of Janet Waymark’s book on the British garden designer and town planner, Thomas Mawson. Mawson was responsible for many designs throughout Britain, Europe and Canada and incidentally, had a New Zealand link, one of his sons, John (1886-1966) having shifted to New Zealand in 1928 to become Director of Town Planning.[1]

Two other book reviews appear in this issue: Paul Star considers John Andrews’ new book, No Other Home Than This: A History of European New Zealanders, an environmental history of Pākehā relationship with Aotearoa that begins deep in pre-history and moves to the present. I review Christopher Johnstone’s sumptuous new book on the presentation of the New Zealand garden in art.

The first of a new section appears in this issue too: an introduction to a garden or discussion of a resource pertinent to New Zealand nature. Geoff Doube and Peter Sergel introduce readers to two landscape designs in Hamilton Gardens. Catherine Knight overviews an exciting new development in environmental history in New Zealand: envirohistory NZ, a website exploring New Zealand’s environmental history.


[1] Caroline Miller, ‘A Prophet in a Barren Land: the New Zealand Career of J.W. Mawson’, in The 21st Century City: Past/Present/Future, Proceedings of Seventh Australasian Urban History/Planning History Conference (Geelong: Deakin University, 2004), 258-271.