We visited New Zealand earlier this year and stayed with a friend from my English life. Christchurch had been devastated by earthquakes and a year later they still had rumblings every day. The worst damage occurred in the CBD and a year later they still had the CBD cordoned off and major demolition and repair work was going on. The Botanic Gardens are also in the central part of the city, fortunately many of the beautiful old trees survived the quake but they still lost some trees had a lot of damage and debris to clear away. At the time there was a lot of controversy about spending money on the gardens when so many other buildings and infrastructure needed repairs or demolition.
It was heart-warming to hear of all the volunteers that came forward to help with the clean-up and replanting of the garden beds. Now a year later the gardens are a blaze of colour. I totally agree with the decision to put money into the beautifying of the gardens. It is trees and plants that nourish the soul. To walk around and see the beauty is calming and uplifting.
As we walked around I noticed this woman stroking the lovely old gum tree. As I got closer I mentioned how beautiful the tree was.
“Yes” she replied, “I’m an Aussie and I just had to say g’day to a fellow Aussie survivor”…