My mother died yesterday. It is an understatement to say that she wasn’t a great mother but also to say that she was a great talent. You wouldn’t have known her name but if you have ever walked along the St. Kilda foreshore or enjoyed Catani Gardens since their regeneration in 1989-90, attended a wedding held in the gazebo in St. Kilda’s Botanical Gardens rose garden, or enjoyed Townsville’s redesign after 1991, with its internationally award winning Anzac Park, you’ve enjoyed her work as a landscape architect.
My relationship with her was fraught, to say the least, and her life was one of unnecessary anger, bitterness and disappointment because nothing and no-one, most of all herself, was ever good enough for her but she leaves an incredible, tangible legacy in the cities she redesigned, not to mention the many home gardens she turned into jewels of their suburbs.
If you’re out and about today, perhaps you’ll take a moment to consider the surroundings we so often take for granted and consider that a person designed the route you are walking, decided which trees to line the street and where there should be a seat for you to rest at, and if you happen to be in St. Kilda or Townsville, perhaps it will pass through your mind that that person was Jillian le Patourel.