Alex Buckingham

The charming director of Volumes Gallery, Christabel Strong is showing an exhibition of images titled A walk around the garden. This is right up our allee so we stopped by on opening night.

Picture courtesy of The Good Guide.

We met the photographer Alex Buckingham, an Englishman transplanted to Brisbane, Australia a decade ago, whose commercial images are high end.

In this exhibition he unleashes his alter ego: we discovered his love for his delightfully informal, subtropical Brisbane garden.

Here are a few of Alex’s happy snaps of his retreat.

Alex and his family live in a charming old weatherboard Queenslander, complete with iron roof and verandas; its been raised, and extended.

Apart from the mature trees everything in the garden has had an ‘Alex’ makeover. He loves visiting nurseries and trialling appealing plants to find out what does well in this climate.

ALEX’S TIP: Move plants around in the garden till they are happy.

Outdoor spaces are utilised year round in Brisbane’s 27-degree latitude. The back deck is used for children’s play and family get-togethers.  Christmas lunch is set out on the stone table for the adults while the children spill out into the garden gazebo.

Alex, who began gardening at five, says he is easy going. So is his garden.  Years of drought in Queensland, followed by more rain than water tanks can hold, is challenging. Gardens here respond by growing madly.

Alex bought and assembled the cubbyhouse for the children, as a surprise when the family was away.

ALEX’S TIP: Similar gable profiles for garden structures ensure compatibility with the house design.

Alex loves growing herbs, and encourages the children’s involvement.

For Alex shades of green are more appealing than flowers.

ALEX’S TIP: Lighting in the garden extends the usefulness of the space as well as the ambiance.

Here the macadamia tree on the right hosts elkhorns and a staghorn – Queensland epiphytes.

Alex’s garden is his sanctuary, and his inspiration.

ALEX’S TIP: Gardens can be inspiration for children’s art.

What’s a Queensland garden without a Mango tree!? This one provides fruit for possums – and shades the pool.


Intriguingly some of Alex’s dramatic, large format black and white botanic images, gracing the walls at Volumes gallery, hint at the garden’s age. Celtis sinensis present in old gardens has a zillion seedlings that left undisturbed in hidden corners, form small forests in quick time.

Ochna, also now considered undesirable, is another hardy that was frequently shared in decades past when sharing tough plants was a neighbourly thing to do – and before their rogue status was confirmed.

Alex’s philosophy: Beauty can be found in the simple things.

Explore Alex’s work at:

N.B. Make sure you check the miscellaneous section to view some of his exquisite still lifes!

Rarely is the kitchen sink without an offering from the children to their Mum.


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