News and Events

Botanical Buzz - A sense of self

Friday, March 06, 2015

The Dubbo Regional Botanic Garden holds a mysterious allure to those experiencing life changing events.  The garden is such a natural place to celebrate weddings, birthdays and other cultural rituals that it is rarely asked why a garden is able to help us negotiate significant life transitions.

In medieval times such a question would have been nonsensical. Humans had a pre-determined place in the natural environment and their progress through life was determined by the divine order.

Everything visible to the eye represented multiple layers of meaning reinforcing the nature of the divine order. It was a comfort.

During the Renaissance period, botanic symbolism was used to describe and reinforce the divine order. In Sandro Botticelli’s Madonna of the Pomegranate the white petals of the lily represent Mary’s purity and the gold anthers represent the radiance of her soul.  The pomegranate represents eternal life.

However, people also felt at the mercy of nature’s vagaries.  Crops regularly failed due to drought, flood, inferior seeds, disease or a plague of insects. Food shortages and famines were relatively common.

Rapid advances in technology during the last two centuries have enabled people to exert control over nature or at least the illusion of control. Using an arsenal including chemicals, machinery and genetic engineering we have selectively killed, nurtured and re-constructed nature to serve specialised needs.

During this process of disassembling nature into valuable and non-valuable parts some argue that we have gone too far and lost our sense of self and place in the natural environment and order.

We may never understand why the natural environment is so important to our well-being but without it we are truly lost.

When you come to your next crossroads in life follow the path to the Dubbo Regional Botanic Garden and find yourself in nature’s embrace.

                                                                                                   Dubbo Regional Botanic Garden