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Hands Turning Pages of a Book

Dear Gardeners,
I've just put some paper in the typewriter to write some important letters and this most insubordinate of machines promptly starts "Dear Gardeners", and I am undone!


Edna Walling was a prolific writer. She produced four gardening books in her lifetime: "A Gardener's Log", "Gardens in Australia", "Cottage and Garden in Australia" and "The Australian Roadside". "On the Trail of Australian Wildflowers" was published posthumously in 1985. She had plans for several more books and contributed hundreds of magazine and newspaper articles to various Australian publications.

Walling endeared herself to her readers with her practical, down-to-earth manner. According to Walling, gardening wasn't meant to be hard, continuous work.

She recommended to readers that they mulch their gardens to save on water, let self-seeding plants run wild and collect seeds and take cuttings to obtain new plants.

She encouraged her readers to be knowledgeable and sensible about plants, to think about where and what they planted.

She asked them to question the senseless destruction of the native habitat by local councils and she wondered aloud why Australians failed to recognise the beauty of their indigenous flora and fauna. She became a voice for an emerging conservation movement here in Australia.

...the continual scenes of unthinking devastation have made it difficult to remain quiet and it is hoped that in consequence of this book, some readers may not continue to view the roadside plants as so much 'scrub' but as the very interesting, fitting and invaluable plants they really are.

"The Australian Roadside"
Grass Trees
Sketch of Woman with Hoe or Rake

Her enthusiasm and delight for plants and nature was contagious and soon the wealthier Australian gardening public called on her to landscape their gardens.

Readers who weren't so well off were aided by her published designs for suburban gardens and her gardening advice and tips. They were also made privy to anecdotes about her friends, clients, her frequent travels and the building of her Bickleigh Vale home, Sonning.

Dear Gardeners,
Great activity and excitement at Sonning prevail at the moment. It is having a redwood shingle roof, the dream of many years, ...I've gone redwood mad! I would like to build a whole house of it.

September 1, 1939

Had a letter from a friend the other day who addressed me "Dear Anti-annual!" Oooooh, what have I said? Something rude about Iceland poppies or asters? How narrow minded of me. "If you can't grow them yourself you needn't be snippy about them", she thinks.

November, 1941
From Edna Walling


Walling was an inspirational writer, her humour and honesty touched many as she educated Australia on all things Walling.


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