Anne Latreille

About Anne Latreille

Writer, editor and journalist. Author of 'Garden Voices' (about Australian garden designers past and present, September 2013), 'Garden of a Lifetime' (Dame Elisabeth Murdoch at Cruden Farm), 'Kindred Spirits' and 'The Natural Garden'. Melbourne, Victoria.

Listening to ‘Garden Voices’

Plenty of gardening books in Australia emphasise gardens, and how to look after them. But not so many focus on people who design gardens, and how they create them. When this was pointed out to me – more years ago than I care to admit! – a small light ignited in my head. ‘That is something I’d really like to explore, and write about,’ I thought. ‘Garden Voices’ is the result. Continue reading

Rousham Garden, Oxford

‘Rousham’, near Oxford in England, exudes history, yet has a contemporary feel. It is a place of quiet discovery. The Dormer family (now Cottrell-Dormer) acquired the property almost 500 years ago, and still owns it. The great designer William Kent put his stamp on the house – and on the garden, whose initial designer was Charles Bridgeman – a century later, from 1738-41. Horace Walpole wrote of ‘Rousham’ in 1760: ‘It reinstated Kent with me; he has no where shewn so much taste’. Continue reading

Escape summer heat in New York’s parks

July in New York City. Extreme heat and humidity, heavy traffic, surging crowds. What to do? Where to go? Art galleries seemed a good choice, being air-conditioned. But I could only take so many! So I headed out, and around. First, to Central Park. Spacious, green and shady. And hot, hot, hot. Continue reading

The wonderful water rat

I was awash in a flurry of the facts and figures, joys and anxieties that are an inescapable conclusion to the business of writing a book. Around midday I downed tools and headed out to Oakleigh, in middle Melbourne, to take the first car that I have ever owned for its first service – three months overdue. Continue reading

Dame Elisabeth Murdoch 1909-2012

Dame Elisabeth Murdoch‘s memorial service this week in Melbourne’s towering St Paul’s Cathedral was full of grace, dignity and joy (which, coincidentally is her second name!) And also of people. The cathedral was jam-packed. So was a marquee alongside. Crowds in Federation Square watched the service on-screen. Continue reading

What a morning

It’s hot and the sun is blazing sharp. Top temperature forecast – 33 degrees. I’m enjoying breakfast on the deck in the back garden. The vegetables are already watered for the day. The tomatoes are growing fast and the little snow peas are just getting moving, twining up their supports. A couple haven’t come on. I think I’ll pull them out. Continue reading

Another person in my household

It’s like having another person in my household. I swear that this banksia is speaking to me! Eleven months ago I wrote for GardenDrum about how my two Banksia petiolaris, planted some five years ago and doing OK – but not that well – got a new lease of life when I put worms into the soil around them. Their growth rate stepped up markedly and the leaves went from sickly yellow-green to a deep and alluring dusty grey-green-silver. Which is how they are meant to look. Continue reading

I don’t like pink in the garden

‘I don’t like pink in the garden’, I declared to a friend a few years back. ‘I’m not going to do it. Instead I will have orange and soft yellow, lime green, cream and white, blue and mauve and purple.’ Well, I’ve managed this in the front garden – except for the crab apple tree, Malus floribunda. Luckily its blooms come out before anything else, deep pink then turning white. Continue reading

The Loire Valley

Back home again after two weeks in France’s beautiful Loire Valley, its sights and sounds are still singing in my mind. Most of all I remember the ducks quacking gleefully as they zoomed in to land on the still green waters of the River Cher, then the soft splashing as they sailed off to go about their daily business. Some mornings they were in groups of ten or twenty. Continue reading

The lawn saga

The lawn saga got under way many years ago when I decided that weeds shouldn’t be allowed to grow in our new lawn. So I used to kneel down and yank them out. The kids and their friends would play around me. It got a bit dangerous when they were belting hockey balls against the garage wall. Continue reading

Who gave me that plant?

Gardens are made of memories – and it is surprising how little work it can take to disinter them. I’ve been cleaning up some of the wilder parts of my own garden, ahead of opening it early next year for the 25th anniversary of Open Gardens Australia. Continue reading

Jonquils and ninepins

If there is a cheerier, tougher and more reliable flower than the standard yellow jonquil, I have yet to find it. They flower when nothing else much is around. They brighten up the smallest darkest spot. They bring light and colour, and they smell divine. Continue reading