Rogue: Art of a Garden
Rick Eckersley's garden at Musk Cottage is a deeply personal expression both of his respect for Australia's unique flora and ecologies and his unfettered, almost painterly approach to garden design. Both wild and directed, ancient and contemporary, it is a landscape of contradictions.
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Rick Eckersley's garden at Musk Cottage is the culminating work of decades of design and experimentation in contemporary Australian landscape gardening. As Eckersley's own private garden, it is a deeply personal project, an expression both of his respect for Australia's unique flora and ecologies, and his unfettered, almost painterly approach to working with plants. Where Australia's so-called 'bush' gardeners of the mid-20th century sketched exclusively in the delicate linework of native gums and shrubs, Eckersley's Musk deploys a thick impasto of lush grasses and bold vegetal massings at expansive scale - be they native, exotic, or even 'weeds'. Both wild and directed, ancient and contemporary, it is a mongrel garden, of unapologetically hardy, hybrid vigour.
Art of a Garden documents and explores this remarkable Australian landscape and the sensibility that produced it. Much like the garden itself, it is far from orthodox. While evocative photography by Will Salter takes the reader on a journey through the garden's plantings, textures, spaces and cycles, the book foregoes the typical series of accompanying explanatory essays. Instead, a selection of artworks by Australian artists, created in response to the garden, form richly subjective layers of interpretation. Short reflections by Eckersley of his work on the garden, and his learnings from a lifetime spent working within the Australian landscape, round out a publication that strives to capture the spirit of a landscape that has transcended the dogma and conventions of Australian gardening, to become an immersive total work of art.