Designing with Natives: Rethinking the Role of Australian Native Plants in the Open Spaces of Elizabeth and Golden Grove
The use of Australian native plants, in both public and private designed landscapes, has had a varied history in South Australia. Initially widely viewed in a negative light, shifts in cultural and environmental view-points have seen native plants come to be both accepted and appreciated in the second half of the twentieth century. The effects of this shift in thinking can be observed in South Australia in the wider use of native plants in public spaces including in planned environments designed and built since World War Two. This paper examines the rise in interest in native plants and rethinks the rationale for their use locally in public open spaces in post-war residential environments. It focuses on two master planned communities developed on farm land, respectively, north and north-east of Adelaide: Elizabeth, designed and built by the South Australian Housing Trust during the 1950s and 1960s, and Golden Grove constructed between 1984 and 2003 as a joint venture of the Government of South Australia and the Delfin Property Group. Both developments were conceived with significant percentages of open space, well in excess of the legislated provision, and both saw extensive use of native plants. The paper surveys the nature of open spaces provided in both case study areas and considers and evaluates the role of these designated open spaces planted with native plants from design, social and cultural perspectives.