Playing the chimes
We went to Brisbane yesterday for a few appointments, and by the end of the day, found ourselves at the Brisbane Botanical Gardens in Mount Cootha. Dave and I, have a special affiliation to this place as when we lived in Brisbane previously, we'd often visit for some serious garden oggling.
Even some of the Brisbane suburbs we'd walk up and down for our morning stroll, had glorious gardens - especially those with Heritage Listed Queenslanders on stilts. The Botanical Gardens were like a shrine to all gardens throughout Brisbane. It just said "Zen". It was peace, harmony and balance, all wrapped up in one.
As we walked through the Botanical Gardens this time however, something was distinctly different. Part of the garden was missing due to the new Brisbane tunnel project, but there was also something else. As we ambled through the different gardens, something crossed my mind. It was so subtle I almost missed it.
The gardens are so terribly contrived: there are no natural spaces at all. They attempt to blend living plants with rigid architechture. Some of it can look quite wonderful, but as we continued our journey through the gardens, other things came to light.
We saw some water birds near the bamboo. This is an Ibis I believe, and we also snapped some ducks wadding through the constructed lake.
The water seemed devoid of life. I wondered why birds were there at all. There was a great expanse of water, without much life to it. I guess it looked very functional like all public places are expected to be. Not far from the water however, we soon snapped a large lizard basking in the sunlight.
There was also yellow bamboo canes, contrasted against bright red canna lilly flowers. Wasn't this the picture perfect garden, we had often admired with great want in the past?
The people amassed around the gardens too. In fact, they were rushing here and there, up and down paths which were often far too narrow for more than single file. Something was out of place, and I guess this last picture captured it quite perfectly.
A rare moment we weren't mobbed by other pedestrians
It felt like a rat maze! There's actually a light-hearted story to this picture, but I laughed when I first saw it, as it said exactly what I was thinking: watch me bolt down this neatly clipped path, back to reality!
I think I've become a bush convert. I don't like contrived gardens much any more. It looks like a garden, but doesn't have the entangled charm of mystery which natural gardens do. Maybe it was the tunnel project, or maybe it was the fact most of the botanical gardens are surrounded by major highways - but there wasn't much wildlife in the gardens at all.
The only dominating species was humans, coming to oggle the shrine of gardens in a major city. I couldn't believe Dave and I have changed so much. Or maybe it has more to do with our changed surroundings? We don't live in the suburbs any more. We see all manner of wildlife on our doorstep, in our bushland garden. It's not that we're lucky to have what we do, but rather fortunate we didn't have the money to rip it all out and replace it with the kind of contrived "garden" we always wanted. Ninety-five percent of our five-acres remains natural bushland.
I'm ever so grateful the birds still call this place home. It's winter here too, and the parrots are still feasting on the grevilleas. The wallabies still muching on the grass and the sweet potato shoots! I'm so glad their lives still paint the colour of our world here. It's so confusing for me to think, I could miss their presence in our State Capital Botanical Gardens. All manner of plants are there to showcase botany, but it lives in a cement castle - there are people corridors instead of wildlife corridors.
It seems like a contradiction of terms - what are plants for, if not to co-exist with wildlife?