At the British Museum

Peter Campbell

Kew Gardens has supplied the forecourt of the British Museum with an Australian garden. The plants are familiar. Gum trees, for example, fill so many native niches that there is a species to suit almost any foreign habitat (they have had a mixed reception, being fast-growing, which is useful, but thirsty). The BM garden is a long way from Australia as it is seen in the news, which is a place of desert, rainforest and jungle, floods and fires, ephemeral lakes and rivers, and amazing, sudden flowerings when rain comes to the desert after years of drought. As much of the Australian season at the BM is devoted to work by the continent’s indigenous peoples, whose relationship to the land is close, knowledgeable and spiritually intense, it’s as well to be reminded of the flora.

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