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On a Garden

Corinna Fernandez

‘To create a garden with the aim of producing “form for its sake” is to exercise a kind of power-over nature.’ – Susie O’Brien  

As I sit on the floor of my mother’s bedroom, I appreciate the best view of our garden from inside the house. It’s taken years to look as good as it does now.  I am immediately hit with the red stems, green leaves and white flowers of our glossy abelia x grandiflora. It is striking, as is the osteospermum (fondly known as the African daisy) growing as a groundcover. To the side, I see the pale green-leafed celmisia, which looks quite picturesque, despite the absence of the daisy-like flowers, which do not bloom in winter. Seeing these faunae in my own garden opens my eyes to how precious is the natural world. 

I admire the garden, fully aware that perhaps my garden is not purely ‘natural’ in the first place. Over the years, we’ve managed the land and planted and removed certain fauna, messing with the natural developments of the land. It’s difficult to hold oneself back from interfering with nature. Whenever Mum and I are in the garden together, I am always on the lookout for insects (not because I respect them, but because I am petrified of them). I muse that, although I hate to admit it, it is a rare occurrence for me to allow an insect to live. Yes, I allow the Cabbage White butterflies. However, earwigs and white curl grubs have no chance of existence if I have anything to do with it. I guess I am the after-effects of colonisation. Surely, the Indigenous of the land would hold knowledge for these creatures of which I have no appreciation. 

I look outside, barely aware of the time passing, and listen fondly to the chirping and birdsong of all the birds that flock to our garden. My favourites, of which I’m looking for, are the red wattlebird, the fairy wren and the yellow-cheeked honeyeater. Mum is a big fan of birds, and we encourage them to reside in the garden always (although that’s probably not the best idea as we have a ginger tabby cat). More than once, we have come across the corpses of beautiful birds. From what I’ve learnt, I am aware now that all this started with the Anthropocene. The age of humankind impacting the environment.  

Looking out of my window, I wonder what our land would have looked like without human interference. As I rise from my seated position on the carpet, I am touched by the idea that God has created such a beautiful land for us, and perhaps, we don’t always appreciate it. I know I do not.


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