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Monday 31 August 2020 9:31am

Garden Histories Of Aotearoa

Matt Morris

Shortlisted for the NZSA Heritage Literary Awards 2021

Matt Morris cover

The book

Common Ground: Garden histories of Aotearoa takes a loving look at gardens and garden practices in Aotearoa New Zealand over time.

While a lot of gardening books focus on the grand plantings of wealthy citizens, Matt Morris explores the historical processes behind 'humble gardens' – those created and maintained by ordinary people.

From the arrival of the earliest Polynesian settlers carrying precious seeds and cuttings, through early settler gardens to 'Dig for Victory' efforts, he traces the collapse and renewal of home gardening culture, through the emergence of community initiatives to the recent concept of food sovereignty.

Compost, Māori gardens, the suburban vege patch, the rise of soil toxin levels, the role of native plants and City Beautiful movements ... Morris looks at the ways in which cultural meanings have been inscribed in the land through our gardening practices over time. What do our gardens say about us, and where we have been?

Matt Morris digs deep in Common Ground.

Reviews & Interviews

Interview: Nine to Noon

Review: Linda Herrick for kete

Review: James Beattie for Landfall Review Online

The author

MATT MORRIS has always lived in Christchurch. After completing a PhD on Christchurch's garden history he began working in the Sustainability Office at the University of Canterbury, where he has been working for the past ten years. He is deeply involved in community-led garden initiatives and has surrounded his home in New Brighton with fruit trees and vegetables, while keeping bees and making glorious foods. He self-published a selection of his garden columns from the Press called Cuttings from Paradise.

Publication details

Paperback, 240 x 170mm, 284 pp. Full colour
ISBN 9781988592572, $45

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