Botanic Gardens Trust, Sydney, Australia

Plants as art forms

Exploring the relationship between the natural environment and humans 

The Australian Botanic Garden, Mount Annan recently played host to an artist from the USA, Dornith Doherty. Dornith is a Professor of Art at the University of North Texas and has received numerous awards during her career including, recently, a prestigious Guggenheim Fellowship. A passionate photographer, Dornith uses her art form to explore the relationship between the natural environment and humans. Some of her current works focuses on landscape stewardship and genetic resource preservation. In recent years Dornith has visited some of the world’s best known seedbanks and biological repositories to work on her current project - Archiving Eden. This project has seen her visit the National Center for Genetic Resources Preservation in Fort Collins, Colorado, the Millennium Seed Bank, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Wakehurst Place in Sussex, England, and the Svalbard Global Seed Vault in Norway.

On invitation from the Trust’s Australian PlantBank Project Manager John Siemon, Dornith made her way down-under to document both the old NSW Seedbank, located at the Australian Botanic Garden, Mount Annan and, the soon to be opened, Australian PlantBank. In a fleeting visit Dornith spent time X-raying seed and plant material in the Trust’s X-ray machine. This piece of equipment was funded by the Foundation & Friends of the Botanic Gardens as part of the Australian PlantBank fundraising campaign. The images captured from Dornith’s visit to Mount Annan will be featured in a book to be published in the near future. For more information on Dornith and to see some examples of her work please visit


Dornith X-raying material in the Australian Botanic Garden’s Tissue Culture Laboratory: Photo Lotte von Richter



X-ray’s of plant material: Photos John Siemon