Sunday, March 08, 2015

If you don't ask, you don't get

Alys Fowler's last line in her well considered and heartfelt piece in the Guardian this morning says it all. She reflects on buildings and cities without trees , shrubs and greenery . As a personal piece it strikes a chord and means a lot. We may live predominantly in cities and suburbs but here there is no reason to ignore and exclude nature and its benefits. Yes, you have to think. Yes, you have to plan and yes, there has to be ongoing thought. In some cases it might take community involvement to sustain greenery in the suburbs and cities. Thinking and planning are critical...but so is asking for us to have liveable cities and suburbs. Concrete and bricks are harsh and in our Adelaide heat unbearbly hot. We need respite. We have the Himeji Gardens on South Terrace which are a well planned and self contained place of peace and tranquility. The same goes for the Chinese Gardens in Darling Harbour. These self contained and well thought out oases are surprisingly successful in how they can bring respite and happiness in a busy place. At work, our car park has an assortment of  trees. They have put some gum trees which attract the rosellas at this time of the year. Great for nature, not so good if you are the one parked under the tree and have to come home and wash the car like I did last Thursday. I love seeing the rosellas. Washing my car is not really a huge price to pay. Those trees should have been planted elsewhere in the grounds and would have been fine. Where I live the rosellas fly out of a big shrub when I am taking the dog for a walk. We both startle even though we know it is coming. The shrub is on the side of the road. The rosellas can happily go in there and chatter away and there is no fall out from them which causes a problem. We even get koalas sometimes in the gum trees around here. All this makes people happy and keeps them in touch with nature. It is important to think of how you are going to landscape in a city or suburb. Green round abouts are attractive, the right trees provide shade for us all and then plants attract different birds and insects. Aesthetically it is more appealing, but from a daily living point of view it is just so pleasant. One of the good things about greenery around cities is you often get wall boxes and garden beds with retainer walls. These are a welcome place to sit and rest and watch life go by. If they are in a shady area they provide respite from the heat and hot sun. We cannot rip everything up again, as Alys says, but we can think about how we can colour and green our lives . Nature can be dazzling and plants and flowers can provide lovely surprises like the beds of pansies up at Hahndorf. It's not about show. We are living beings. We respond to life.

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