Reconnecting with nature

“Think back to when you were a child stepping out into the landscape and uncovering our local flora and fauna for the first time… We want SaltBush to be a chance to help us reconnect with the earth, with plants, with insects, with water, and with each other, to encourage humans big and small to not only to appreciate, but to actively care for nature.”

 

As humans, we have an inherent understanding that contact with nature improves our physical health, psychological wellbeing, cognitive functioning, and social life. There is a growing body of research that seeks to empirically prove a causal relationship between nature interaction and broader health benefits, whether that comes from viewing a garden from your window or hiking through a rugged and remote national park.

For children, experiences in nature can develop their capacity for creativity, symbolic play, problem solving and intellectual development, which is why the concept of ‘nature play’ has become incredibly popular in landscape design over the past few years.

Of course, there are many different kinds of nature, from a pot plant, to a street tree, to an inner-city park, to a re-vegetated wildflower meadow, to the Dandenong Ranges and everything between and beyond. Even the concept of ‘nature’ itself is contested, with some academics arguing that it positions humans and nature in binary opposition, when in reality we are just as much a part of nature as a butterfly pollinating an Everlasting Daisy.

There is no arguing, however, with the fact that those vast, wild landscapes which inspire us, delight us, and give us a sense of connection to place, are vanishing.

Victoria is the most intensively cleared and settled state in Australia. More than half of our native vegetation has been cleared since colonisation, with 51 plant species and 30 animal species becoming extinct. Over 90% of lowland grasslands have been lost. Marine and estuary ecosystems are being profoundly damaged by excessive nutrients and sediments, litter and overfishing due to development. Our children will be left to feel the loss most keenly, in a world that continues to urbanise at an unprecedented rate.

SaltBush was inspired by the idea that through early experiences in nature, our children can grow up with an innate sense of responsibility to care for and protect the environment. Adults, too, are invited to reconnect with a sense of place, and to consider how the choices we make in our gardens may benefit the wider ecosystem in our local areas. SaltBush is a celebration of the Victorian landscape, and our place within it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our garden SaltBush will be at the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show, March 20 – 24.