Australian Botanic Gardens, NSW
New Shoots, 2017
The Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan was officially opened by the Duke and Duchess of York on 2 October 1988 as the final NSW Bicentennial project. Showcasing approximately 2000 species of Australian native plants, the garden is part of the Royal Botanic Garden and Domain Trust and home to the Australian PlantBank, a major scientific research and conservation centre for NSW flora. The Botanic Gardens Trust is a statutory body established under the Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust Act 1980. It is responsible for the management and stewardship of the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney, the Domain, the Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan and the Blue Mountains Botanic Garden Mount Tomah.
Award-winning poet, Eileen Chong led a botanical writing workshop as part of Seniors Week at the Australian Botanic Garden, adding the growing ecosystem of our New Shoots project. Inspired by the native plants and history of the Gardens and the PlantBank, participants were guided through a range of writing activities by Elieen that aimed to create personal connections with nature.
In learning about the tireless work of the PlankBank in horticultural research and conservation, especially of endangered and endemic species, in relation to the crtically endnagered Cumberland Plain Woodland, participants were able to gain an appreciation for native species under threat - and to celebrate this connection in creative ways with beautiful poetic offerings.
Eileen Chong is a Sydney poet. Burning Rice (Australian Poetry, 2012) was shortlisted for the Anne Elder Award, Australian Arts in Asia Award and the Prime Minister's Literary Award. Her other books are Peony (Pitt Street Poetry, 2014) and Painting Red Orchids (Pitt Street Poetry, 2016).