The plan itself is a comprehensive document detailing the focus of specific projects that could be considered interpretive works. The project may be a single exhibition or showing or a guided walk or display for a permanent project. Whatever the scale of the project, the essential questions when formulating the plan are; who is the project designed for' What is to be interpreted' Why is to be interpreted' (McArthur, 1998). As such, the interpretive plan takes in the big picture and provides a broad statement of intent. At the level of the heritage organisation the interpretative plan outlines the intentions to the approach of interpretation over the long-term. And can also allow for the collaboration of interpretation across numerous related heritage organisations. At the regional level, the heritage organisation could cooperate with other organisations to present a common or complementary perspective to interpretation in their region. Ultimately the interpretative strategy guides the interpretation process to meet the needs and expectations of the projects purpose, and of the visitors.
This paper will provide answer the question, 'Why do Australian Botanic Gardens use interpretation' Firstly, this paper will briefly outline the purpose of botanic gardens in Australia. Secondly, the stories plants tell through interpretive planning will be presented. Next, how the interpretive plan can use plants as education tolls will be highlighted. And then the interpretive message provided by plantings will be discussed. Finally a conclusion shall synthesis the main points of the paper and demonstrates that the paper answered the question of why botanic gardens use interpretative planning.
Review of the Literature
Botanic Gardens of Australia
Botanic Gardens have a long history as part of Australian heritage. The key emphasis of all the botanic gardens is that they are collections of plants for conservation, preservation and beauty. Australian botanic gardens cluster plants together according to themes. The themes tend to be placed across a large garden site, with plants being located to areas where they will look and survive best. The themes are important as they provide continuity and meaning to the displays, otherwise the collections would not readily be able to engage the interest of visitors. Collections of plants clustered according to themes allow botanic gardens to more fully communicate critical information about the plants to visitors. Interpretive planning as used in botanic gardens provides a channel for story-telling to the public about the importance of plants in the ecological cycles that make up geographical spaces in which humans live and act.
The Stories Plants Tell
Botanic gardens are able to communicate critical information about vanishing rainforests, not only in Australia but the world. As such, the themed collections can more fully relate a story about the part each plant plays in the bigger picture which is an area/region/nation or global ecology. Many insects, animals and other plants are reliant on specific plants for nutrition, shelter or reproduction. When visitors understand how each plant has a role in the wider survival of global species then interpretative planning can be said to have succeeded (Moscardo, 1998).
A modern botanic garden is of course far more than