Finding Peace in a Garden

This weekend I was in Melbourne and for me one of the highlights was to be exploring every inch of the Royal Botanic Gardens, with the long suffering Hubby the Un-Gardener in tow.  It was an incredible day.  The sky was blue with not a cloud to be seen with a gentle breeze to ward of the heat of the day.  Although the air resonated with a constant buzz – the sounds of the nearby Formula 1 racing, it somehow didn’t detract from the ambiance of the gardens themselves.

Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne
The Royal Botanic Gardens are a peaceful haven, in the centre of such a vibrant city.

The gardens were a short walk from our hotel and immediately on entering the Queen Victoria Garden end, there was a huge sense of peace that conveyed a feeling of hushed tones that you would expect from a library.  The magnificent trees had begun shedding their leaves for the autumn and the lawns were a carpet of green grass and brown leaves.  The fountains and waterfalls tinkled and gushed adding to the ambiance.  And dotted about throughout the gardens where people, soaking in the sun, or sheltering in the shade, reading quietly or listening silently through earphones.  Couples in casual embrace and families having picnics punctuated the gardens with life beyond what the plants could provide.   It was a lovely feeling.

leaves on grass
A carpet of fallen leaves stand out on the vibrant green of the grass

As much as I would have loved to linger there, I was keen to see plant collections in the heart of the Royal Gardens I had heard so much about.  And I wasn’t disappointed.  Around every corner was a sight worth capturing – I’d say on film as it sounds so much more poetic, however I snapped away, filling my digital memory with a multitude of pixels.  There were plants I’d never seen before and ones that were shown off in a new light.  I was in my element.

Tea and scones
Tea and scones, the perfect lunch in a garden

After several hours of intentional aimless wandering, our hunger made itself known through increasing rumbles and it was a relief to stumble upon the café in the centre of the garden.  While Hubby the Un-Gardener was ordering the tea and scones that seemed like the perfect sustenance to have in a garden, I made a quick check to see what the increasingly frequent notifications I had been receiving were all about.  It was at this point we were completely dumbfounded by what was unfolding back home in our little corner of the world.   It is hard to comprehend that something so horrendous could happen there.   The unwelcome hate and ugliness of the world has entered our safe haven and caused harm to the very fabric of our nation.  My heart breaks for the communities directly affected by it.  They should have been safe and free to pray and worship, because this is the kind of place we have and the kind of people we are.  Our national anthem, sung with pride carries the words:

“Men of every creed and race
gather here before thy face,
asking thee to bless this place

God defend our free land
from dissension, envy, hate…”

So, it was with shocked and broken hearts, we returned to the gardens, seeking peace and solace.

old oak tree
May light shine through the darkness

There are no more words to even comprehend this tragedy and all I can do is continue to pray.

Sarah the Gardener  : o(

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