There’s a quiet revolution going on in the suburban back gardens of Australia.
Rather than sitting back and admiring our perfectly manicured ‘outside rooms’, gazing lovingly at our Mondo Grass, perfectly coiffed hedges of Gardenias and Buxus or newly acquired Agaves perched in copper pots on our Cotswold Collection Outdoor Setting, we are instead choosing to head outside armed with buckets of kitchen scraps, water collected from baths & showers whilst we attempt to figure out where we should build a chicken coop, locate the veggie patch and compost heap.
Suffering a slow death (and not for lack of water) is the passive, over-structured garden. Instead we are rediscovering how much fun it is to actually interact with Mother Nature and the vital lessons she has to impart about nourishing our environment and ourselves. Despite our hectic lives, we are taking time to get down and dirty and, somewhat surprisingly, we are finding that we love it.
So what’s behind this shift in the suburban landscape? I’d suggest a few things. Everyday we are bombarded with messages about climate change and the potential impact it will have on our lives. No longer an obscure issue, we have an understanding of some of the associated issues and their ability to directly affect what we do and how we do it, now and into the future. It unsettles us.
Gone are the days when we could drop a coin into a bucket held by a man dressed in a koala suit and feel that we were doing our bit for the environment. So it comforts us on many levels to get out into our back gardens, plant shrubs, grow our own veg, participate in community gardens and work towards providing a happy and productive environment for our family and the future.
The economy is doing nothing to provide peace of mind. Food, fuel, water, medicines and shelter are all more expensive. And with the global economy constantly uncertain, the ability to provide basic fruit and veg for ourselves at greatly reduced cost is very appealing and for many of us, more necessary.
The continued rise of global terrorism is beginning to guide our lifestyle choices. Terrorism is no longer a remote event, occurring in a far-off country. There is unspoken fear in many communities that some day soon, ‘something’ may happen closer by. So our homes become haven again; we are bunkering down, cocooning and trying to figure out what we should do to protect ourselves and maintain the relatively peaceful lifestyle Australia affords us.
This unease reminds us of the staples of life – we hanker for a return to the simplicity and wonder of our childhoods, which was, on the whole, a time spent outside whiling away the day with lots of unstructured play (not a device in sight) and very little to worry about except what mum was cooking for dinner. We long to provide this for our own children. It’s my view that this is very likely the reason Trump is now President-elect and Britain will be exiting the EU at the first opportunity. We desire to return to what we knew and what we feel we can control.
Or maybe it’s none of these. Perhaps we are simply sick to death of gardens that offer nothing but a vacant green room, with little to engage or educate our children and no place for their beautiful imaginations to flourish.
Whatever the reason, I’m thrilled with our new-found involvement and am longing to hear, once again, the 3.00am call of a lovelorn rooster and hoping that I will soon find an unwieldy Choko vine spilling over the back fence.
What’s happening in your back garden nowadays?
Until next time…
For more ideas and tips on finding wonder in the everyday, consider buying my new book. You can purchase it via the link in my sidebar above, or at all good bookstores and online and as an e-book. For interview opportunities please contact Jackie Evans on 0407 776 222 or firstname.lastname@example.org