ForeverMissed
His Life

PROFESSIONAL LIFE

Kevin was involved in horticulture since the mid-1980s, contributing much to the areas of historic and botanic gardens, waterwise gardening and open space planning as well as carrying out garden design work, giving advice, leading garden tours and teaching apprentices during his long career.

In 1984 he began his career in gardening at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne on landscaping projects that merged into a gardening position. In 1985 he took up a job on the restoration of the Malmsbury Botanical Gardens in Central Victoria – a year-long pilot project funded by corporate businesses in celebration of Victoria's sesquicentennial (150th) anniversary. He commenced a Trade Certificate in horticulture at Bendigo College of TAFE in the same year.

Between 1987 and 1988 Kevin worked part-time as a gardener at the Castlemaine Community Hospital. During this time he started his own business in garden design and construction.

In the late 1980s he was able to combine his love of writing with his gardening career by writing articles for gardening journals and magazines. From 1990 to 2000 he answered the Readers’ Questions in the gardening page of The Age newspaper.

Beginning in the mid-1990s, for more than 20 years he co-presented a regular weekly timeslot on Bendigo’s ABC Regional Radio answering listeners’ gardening questions. He was also a regular guest on Melbourne’s 3CR Community Radio gardening talkback program.

Well known as a public speaker, Kevin presented to a broad range of community and specialist groups and at national conferences over the years. He had the ability to talk on a range of practical gardening issues as well as topics relating to horticultural history, contemporary garden design and landscape planning amongst other things. He led garden tours of New Zealand with Grand Pacific Tours during the late 1990s and early 2000s.

Kevin is probably best remembered as the author of the ground-breaking publication Water-Saving Gardening in Australia (Reed Books 1993) which was the first book written on the subject in Australia. It has never been out of print, with the fourth edition released in 2009 along with a companion volume Waterwise Plants published in 2010 and a combined publication Waterwise Plants and Gardening launched in 2017. His expert knowledge in this field has won him much respect and acclaim.

Organisations he was involved with include the Horticultural Media Association, The Australian Institute of Horticulture, Sustainable Gardening Australia, The Ornamental Plants Conservation Association of Australia, Botanic Gardens Australia and New Zealand, The Mediterranean Garden Society and The Australian Garden History Society (serving on their committee between 1994-1996).

Other major achievements include developing the Bendigo Botanic Gardens Master Plan, White Hills (City of Greater Bendigo 2010) which won the National Planning Award in 2011 (Parks and Leisure Australia), along with the National Landscape Architecture Award in 2012 (Australian Institute of Landscape Architects). He also received the National Award for Excellence in Open Space Development in 2013 (Parks and Leisure Australia) for Anglesea Riverbank Development and the Star Award for Sustainability in 2014 (Greater Metropolitan Cemeteries Trust).

In more recent years Kevin worked on the significant Carlton Gardens Master Plan for the City of Melbourne, leading the overarching consultation for the World Heritage Management Plan, which will having a lasting impact on the future conservation of this important heritage site.

Kevin’s passion for horticulture, his jovial and outgoing personality and his sharing and inclusive nature will be sorely missed by his friends, colleagues and followers. He truly believed that gardening had the power to bring people together in a friendly space, to connect them with nature and bring them satisfaction and enjoyment.

PERSONAL LIFE

Kevin was born 22 November 1957 in Melbourne to Dr. Kevin and Patricia Walsh, the fifth of six children. He was raised in the suburb of Ivanhoe and attended St Bernadette’s Primary School, then Parade College (Christian Brothers) followed by Marcellin College in Bundoora (Marist Brothers).

He attended Ballarat College of Advanced Education (now Federation University) studying Arts for one year in 1977-78 then returned to Melbourne in 1979 to commence a creative writing course at Prahran Polytechnic (Victoria College) receiving his Bachelor of Arts Degree with a major in writing.

In 1977 he met Lauretta. They shared a flat in East St Kilda in 1980, then moved into a small house in Prahran for a couple of years (where they had their first garden), then to Armadale.

In 1988 Kevin and Lauretta were married and purchased their first home in Castlemaine where they lived and raised their two children, Natalie and Callan. They moved to Phillip Island in October 2021.