Some years ago I lived in Canberra, however on a recent visit earlier this year I came back as a tourist
The city has changed- a lot. It has spread up and out, and just like “Topsy” it has grown. At this time the changes that impressed most were around New Acton.
Exciting changes that address environmental awareness working to bring nature, art and the city together as a beautiful union. Changes that look to creating healthy lifestyle options and beauty to enrich life.
There were vegetable boxes planted in courtyards around which were cafes,restaurants, hotels and bars.
In a large oak tree there were nesting boxes .
Sculpture is placed thoughout the precint, to inspire, to ponder and to provoke thought.
New buildings were innovative .
Overseeing the city the tower on Black Mountain, that created considerable controversy when it was erected. Since it has become an icon.
The visit was too short but huge in impact being a very a special time, as family gatheredfor my daughter’s wedding.
Reality has taken on a fuzziness, and settling to creating again has taken time. If anything it is not so much a matter of what and how but rather total sensory, physical and emotional overload. Travelling kept presenting so much to absorb and to process that the experience seems to have completely numbed. Just imagine standing in the garden, pictured above, at Hever Castle in England where four thousand rose bushes were in full bloom. That alone presented a sensory extravaganza of epic proportions.
However the first “wow” factor came at the beginning of this trip at the end of May, seeing the green initiatives in Singapore.
Along many roadsides there were cool, shady tunnels of overarching trees. Major roads had large pots planted with trees and shrubs placed in gaps of the laneways. Creepers wrapped around concrete pylons under the overpasses creating small green oases.The Big Wheel emerged from a recreated rain forest that twined around it’s base. It was encouraging to see that attention to detail, to nature, and the environment incorporated as an essential in urban planning.
Many new buildings were innovative in design as well as incorporating live walls of plants, garden terraces on each level and roof top gardens.
Dotted around the city were signs encouraging awareness of the value of green, as well as these characters below who frolicked in the parks and promoted “Love Green”.
Although Singapore has a wonderful Botanic garden housing a legendary orchid collection my main desire was to visit Gardens at the Bay. This project is set up as a dynamic working and teaching resource . There are excellent displays, information, films and models to encourage awareness of climate change in order to encourage and initiate more sustainable practices and lifestyles. Two huge glass domes protect micro climates. One dome area houses a cloud or mist environment. The second dome various gardens to show the different climates and vegetation from all around the planet.
The entire garden itself is a working example of sustainability and interrelationships. Planted in the grounds are several large Super Trees, which are 250 m tall metal trees that harvest and store sunlight and water. At night the trees create a solar powered light display . I wondered if these trees may be the trees of future generations .
Soon after we left Singapore, the city was severely affected by a thick smog from fires lit to burn off large tracts of forests felled in Indonesia. Not even love green could lessen the impact.
Later in the trip., in July this year we came across a “super Flower” planted on the banks of the Danube in Vienna. Seeing this interesting artwork ,a recycled plane propeller, made me wonder again if something like this would become the replacement of wildflowers .
Growing alarm was being raised about the loss of wildflowers and insects in Britain. This situation was felt to be the result of councils spraying and mowing parks, footpaths, and roadside verges as well as modern mono-agricultural practices. The fragility of previously abundant and hardy , seeding and pollen producing plants is linked to the demise of bees and butterflies, a situation that threatens the very existence of all life forms on the planet . We really do need to love green much more.