A new florist friend of mine recently told me about her special connection to the Dahlia garden at the Botanic Gardens of Adelaide, and it inspired me to go and have another look while the dahlias are still in full bloom.
Encircled by a high holly hedge, dahlias of all imaginable shapes, sizes and colours compete for attention. Seen like this, they are reminiscent of English flower shows in country halls; an impressive display of the plant breeders' prowess. Anyway, go and have a look while the last dahlias are still hanging on, and experience the childlike wonder of the giant paper-like flowers towering overhead.
More than anything, the visit to the gardens got me thinking about the notion of Botanical Gardens as a whole, and the wider meaning, and importance, of green places that exist purely to foster a connection between us and the plant kingdom. I am glad to live in a world, and a city, that still thinks it worthwhile to spend some of the taxpayer dollar on gardening, and creating a space where rare plants can be cared for and seen and sat under.
I went to the gardens between meetings, feeling exhausted and strung out, and I left a much happier person. It really works,
and the idealist in me just wants everybody to be able to sneak into
the gardens for 10 minutes to make their shitty day just a little
brighter or calmer; a chance to get perspective on things. It's no
secret that green spaces are beneficial to our mental health (I've
always found the best cure for the blues is a country walk, or an hour
of weeding), but recent budget cuts leave many worried about the Gardens
long-term. Perhaps if funds were found for more public gardens across
the city (real gardens, not just grassed parks) there would be a longer
lasting beneficial effect for the community. More than, say, sporting
events that congest traffic and gobble up money for short-term thrills.
I know I'd rather sit under a dahlia bush than watch some wheels fly
Just a thought...