Natural resilience

Children’s author Penny Harrison recently penned an article for The Planthunter in which she muses on the mystery and magic of gardens and how they inspire many children’s authors. Penny recalls books from her childhood that enabled her to escape from the harsh environment in which she lived with its images of brown scorched earth. She has just launched her most recent book The Art Garden with illustrations by Penelope Pratley.

My landscape in the Upper Hunter of NSW, is also scorched earth and in serious drought and I have blogged about the impacts such conditions have on our land and our psyche. I did conclude that farmers are resilient but I realise that there is another dimension that relates to the natural world.

Even with no useful rain for 11 months some plants are hanging in and proving how resilient they are. As I walked down the steps this morning I was greeted by the cheerful pink faces of the naked ladies which have sprung from who knows where. They are nestled in among the agapanthus which have also survived with no water. And down at the cottage I can still see the leaves of the brave tough irises which we dug up from the site of an old cottage. They were flowering then and as we came over the hill, I thought it was a flock of white birds. But it was a whole bank of irises all alone, sole survivors and still struggling on.

The last resilient specimen is a lone geranium, part of a line which bordered the verandah of the cottage. The cattle busted in one day and did a radical prune of all the roses and chomped all the geraniums before being removed.

It seems fitting that nature struggles on like us and toughs it out and we will all rejoice when finally it does rain.