Monday, March 10, 2014

Glimpses of Life

Whatever changes are happening to the world's climates, the only certainty is their unpredictability.
East Melbourne is a plush corner of the world, a stone's throw from the CBD. Kept greener than most parts of Melbourne, it's nonetheless showing signs of strain...
the hardiest, most prevailing, most persistent plants struggle now to deal with rainlessness.
There are inventive solutions, though given that land is at a premium here, a few square metres are easier to maintain than a quarter acre, the size of an average Melbourne block.
This, above, is 'Queen Bess Row', with virtually no garden at all except for what blooms on its balconies. Will all of us in Melbourne, before too long, be obliged to curtail our gardening to a pocket of hope, a sort of play garden?
I hope it doesn't get that dire. The residents here have been successful in keeping their garden alive with yew, olive and native grasses - 
and these residents may have forgotten to clip their sprouting Muehlenbeckia columns, but they look so much better for it. And they've survived.
I can handle any sort of techniques, designs or ways forward that are capable of manifesting a garden in hostile conditions. What's getting hard to see is whether there's going to be much of any sort of garden left at all if climate continues to batter as belligerently as it is doing now. Oops, there goes the summerhouse...
There are those who create a response that is sustainable and elegant, such as here, with this slate, an idea I'm going to copy.
There are those who can afford to re-create sanctuary and in such sanctuary life continues unchallenged.
There are responses such at the landscaping at East Melbourne Library that utilise the toughest of natives and transpose them against a backdrop of new usefulness.
There's the ever-marvelous city-scape, able to inoculate itself against all pressure, for now, with its tiny wave towards the green.
There's the bastion, the little bit of the past that never says die.
And there's the Vespa I'd rather ride on, out of here, to a country that doesn't know of drought...


  1. Hello Faisal:

    So much of this post resonates with us, although of course we do not know Melbourne, or Australia come to that, from our own gardening days when we were so very conscious, as all gardeners must be, of the unpredictability of the weather patterns. Yes, as you question, will there come a point in certain parts of the world when it is no longer possible to cultivate plants and create gardens in the way in which we know? A frightening thought and one which governments throughout the world appear to choose to ignore.

    1. Hello Jane and Lance,
      you knew floods and storms and bitter cold in England, things I've never really known. These things that destroy what we make, and we make these things out of faith in an improving world, they can become beyond our ability to repair. For me, I feel, I have to wait and see what happens, if I'm going to be able to continue gardening. And yes, governments are doing nothing much. My own government simply laughs, and is in the process of dismantling safeguards. You keep on, don't you? That is what gardeners do, despite the numbskulls!

  2. Thank you for these beautiful glimpses of faith and hope.
    Photo 2, 3 and 7 I find especially bewitching.
    By the end you must have been caught by a severe sunstroke!

    1. Dear Hannah, thank you. It touches me that anything I've done might appeal to you, especially where creativity is concerned.
      My European genes are crying out for a bit of snow, a bit of dark, a bit of levity.

  3. that library garden looks an inviting place to sit and read, or just quietly, be.

    1. The largely Victorian street the library's in is lined with elms. The library itself, and its landscaping are native, new, yet also reflective. Yes, Diana, a great place to visit in what can be a city got too busy.

  4. in melbourne a few weeks back there was rain, several times…but i didn't know to look deeper, to see the drought.

    1. It's not been a drought Velma, but a couple of periods of a week or more of intense heat, heat of such intensity and duration that it's seemed climate change is really here, and more vicious than anticipated. Now, at last, autumn seems to be breaking through. In the mornings, birds are singing again. I am feeling creative again - the heat sort of killed off inspiration - and I can see that another year is full of promise.

  5. Drought I believe is THE most defining/challenging season/condition. Plump and green (except tropical) is altogether much too boring for this brown duck! A few interesting garden plays on million dollar row there!

    1. Dear Brown Duck,
      when the going gets tough, the tough get going, hey?
      I used to have dreams of being able to survive,and even thrive, in high heat and dryness, but this is one little city duck that needs some water.
      It was Saturday morning when I took these pictures and residents were coming and going out of doorways, and the sun was streaming, and I was running, so I could have done better. But what I noticed is that small inner city streetscapes can handle irregularities in climate better than sprawling suburban blocks.