On Friday 30 March my mother Julia Woodhouse and I were privileged to attend the opening of the Botanica 2012 exhibition as guests of the Margaret Flockton Committee of the Royal Botanic Garden, Sydney. It was a perfect balmy autumn evening in Sydney and spirits were high after a gloomy summer.
In the Maiden Theatre the large crowd viewed some astonishing and very colourful works of art. We heard about the revival of interest in botanical art and about Australia's pre-eminent position as exponents of excellence in this art form. At the event, the NSW Governor, Marie Bashir, announced this year's winners of the Margaret Flockton Award for Scientific Botanical Illustration and we walked to an adjacent gallery, the Red Box Gallery, to view these superb black and white competition entries.
During the evening I was asked, naturally, about the progress of my long-promised biography of Margaret Flockton. The staff at the Botanic Garden must be sick and tired of hearing that the book is still 'coming' - that it's still a 'work-in-progress'. But rest assured - my second substantially-revised draft has now been scrutinised by three different pairs of eagle eyes. My informed reading panel of Stephanie Lee, Cathryn Gillespie-Jones and Dr Roger Dedman have each contributed their thoughts on the second draft. (Dr Pamela Bell read the first draft some years ago, before I was able to get back to England in 2011 and clarify the details of Margaret's life there during the 1880s.)
The ball is now back in my court - I need to do some culling and shaping but not much else, as the story line was described as 'very interesting' and the book itself as 'well-written'.
I will then offer my polished-up third draft to several publishers. The plan is for the book to be ready by the Tenth Margaret Flockton Award Ceremony in 2013, a very symbolic timeframe as it has taken me about ten years to research and write Margaret's life story.