I am so lucky that my office in Parliament House is very near my favourite garden, one of the loveliest gardens and
courtyards in the whole building. Parliament House in Canberra boasts some magnificent gardens and the gardeners are amazingly diligent in spite of the fact that very few MPs or Senators stop to notice what a great job they do. Occasionally I ask them for advice, most recently in relation to rather shabby leaves on clivias…just cut them off.
These gardens have lots of different themes and plantings but my favourite is best in the spring. It is dominated by a flowering Japanese cherry tree and many camellias and azaleas and rhododendrons. It is also enhanced by sculptures and has tables and chairs
where members and staff can enjoy the beauty of it all. It was in this courtyard that I hosted Brett Dean, some staff and many students from the Australian National
Academy of Music in Melbourne for a beautiful musical recitalafter a day’s lobbying in November 2008. The students had spent all day playing beautiful music in the corridors. It was the gentlest and one of the most effective protests in recent years and resulted in the Academy being saved. It was a joyous occasion which coincided with the Greens Christmas Party… friends, great young people, music, refreshments and a beautiful garden on an early summer’s evening.