Interview with Julie Kinney
1) What were your inspirations for the The Garden Wanderer?
Inspiration for my book surrounded me. I am so lucky to live, not only in an area of great natural beauty, but in a community filled with artistic people. Just recently, I walked along one of the trails by the river and found someone had played with a few of the large rocks that make for good resting spots. They had stacked a few smaller rocks to make simple sculptures, bringing a smile to my face, and I am sure, other walkers. Simple pleasures.
My book gardens are a memento of this moment in time and the efforts people have made to create a happy, serene home environment. Gardens are transient, so it seemed a good idea to record what is happening now. Talking to gardeners inspires me. These are people with a passionate cause. Gardening, I am sure, gives them headspace and helps put their lives and the world into a balanced perspective.
2) What makes for a beautiful garden?
Beautiful gardens have a presence, whether one is a gardener or not. It is apparent on arrival and then it opens out to tell its story as one meanders. Every garden is different just as art is different, and of course a garden is capable of change, with time and maturity as well as new projects, so always good to revisit. We all have favourite styles or plants but having variety is what makes gardening so personal and so intriguing. Just like art.
A streetscape can say such a lot too. There are some gnarled Eucalypts on Bussell Highway just near the Bunbury Health Campus, which I just love passing. So many public places where the plants make a statement of beauty. Of course we could have many more…
3) What is the place of gardens in an increasingly connected world?
A garden can be a space to escape from the rigours of a fast world. Some people play sport, others choose to ‘play’ in their own gardens or perhaps a community garden, to connect with the earth and allow thinking, breathing time. As I said earlier, it affords the opportunity for what I call headspace.
Out of the garden, increasingly, we use the ‘connectivity’ to source more information, so we don’t really escape but perhaps use it in a more fulfilling way. Since the internet, I have made many similarly minded friends across the world, as I am sure others have, which aside from the friendship allows us to keep expanding our knowledge and grow.
4) What are you currently working on?
I am always working on or in my garden, perhaps just tweaking or enthusiastically reworking areas. If my back doesn’t ache I pine for more space, and if it does, then I am glad to be where I am. I tend to use moments rather than hours to get things done. In the recent wet weather, I have been sewing some dress-up fantasies for my granddaughter’s approaching birthday and I usually have an event or two to plan which keeps my mind active. A new tour or a garden fundraiser perhaps.
I love jotting down ideas and lists of words and hopefully will remember where they are when I need them. I read a lot, unintentionally these days, mainly non fiction and have recently been inspired with A House Full of Daughters by Juliet Nicholson. She takes the reader through seven generations of females in her family, her grandmother being Vita Sackville West, author and gardener extraordinaire.
5) How did you hear about Margaret River Press?
Margaret River Press published and launched my friend Lynne Leonhardt’s book, Finding Jasper, and she introduced me to Caroline Wood at our local library.