Updated: Sep 14, 2021
In these times of COVID and the protracted lockdown it has been difficult sometimes to pick myself up, a feeling I’m sure, not unfamiliar to many. Finding myself in this slump, one of the best remedies is to get out into the sunshine. Usually, the easiest place to do that, is in
the backyard, which for us, is very small. Still, there is a profusion of blooms at this time of year. The most striking, is the jasmine with its abundance of delicate white flowers and its heady perfume. It is currently rambling all over our side fence, threatening to strangle our passionfruit vine as it puts out very vigorous runners, the delicate tendrils wrapping themselves in and around the vine and leaves in a warm embrace.
Little pops of colour here and there, brighten me up a little as I look at the vertical garden pots: hot pink cyclamen in full bloom, orange and gold alstroemeria with its variegated petals and blushed centre. Between this fence and the brick wall of our house is the cool green lushness of the fernery. It is a very narrow strip, but we grow a great variety of ferns there in pots because it is so shady and cool. A tree fern stretches now almost to the top of a window, the birds’ nest fern is just about outgrowing its pot, the maiden hair ferns, button ferns and large-leafed holly fern adding shape and contrast. The dense clump of erect fronds of the Aiantum Fritz Luthll, a different type of maidenhair, enjoys its little protected position. The distinctive fox tail looks like it could do well with a little more sunlight. The Boston fern with its evergreen leaves, the shape reminiscent of a fishbone, is enjoying the warmth of the Spring. A brake fern jostles for space with dichondra, which is not really a fern, but its softly tumbling, pale green leaves seem to belong here. The same can be said for the baby tears- its tiny round leaves are so dense, they look like moss – at home and forming a lovely, soft carpet below the ferns.
In the courtyard, we have bud burst, as the wine growers would say: the first blossoms of the blueberry bush have appeared. The snap dragons have started to bloom while the pansies and polyanthus display their last flush.
In the front garden, the freesias are a riot of yellow, growing not just in the garden beds, but between the cracks in the concrete and mailbox brick pillar! Carnations blaze in vivid red while one last camelia nestling in the middle of the bush is a sure sign that winter is over.
Truly we can celebrate creation and be reminded of what God has given us in nature. We have to stop to look and savour. Our garden is small, but it still brings a lot of pleasure. Even when I lived in my small Elwood apartment, I grew flowers in pots on my little balcony to break up the look of all the surrounding concrete. At the very least, a few herbs grown on a kitchen windowsill can be a delight not to mention handy whenever you need them in a dish. Taking myself off to the nearby parks around Glen Eira and Port Philip is also a great alternative and has the added benefit of being able to stretch the legs.
Immersing ourselves in nature, we can find sanctuary from the disquiet of our minds and the turbulence of our world. Pope Francis says,
“To look after creation (our universe) with tenderness and love is to open ourselves to a horizon of hope; to open a slit of light in the midst of many clouds; to bring the warmth of hope.”
I have translated this as close as possible from the Italian so that it makes sense for you in English. There is a lot of truth in his words. In caring for creation in all its wonder, we are caring for ourselves; we are indeed nurturing our own well-being.
What marvels of creation have you experienced this Springtime?
Feel free to share anything you have found uplifting.
 Jorge Mario Bergoglio, Papa Francesco, 2014 Pg 199 Lo Sguardo Semplice e Profondo Dell’Amore, Libreria Editrice Vaticano, RCS Libri