We spent an lovely afternoon with old friends (from Upstate South Carolina) exploring the Botanical Gardens of Asheville. It's still an bit early, but we saw lots of treasures (aka woodland wildflowers and shrubs) in bloom.
It's reminding me how botanical gardens, as well as our preserved natural gardens, are special places.
We need to connect with the natural world, whether it's in our backyard, in wild places, or places in between. The natural world is increasingly depauperate, outside of national parks, reserves, and "wilderness" areas. My country (the U.S.) still has the privilege of wilderness areas.
In some other parts of the world that we've visited, "wild" nature has been pushed behind the fences, protecting what's left (tigers, special grasslands, etc. ) -- I'm thinking of Southern India, in particular. But in Laos, we had that feeling, too, although northern Vietnam still has wild and natural places to visited in their parks and reserves.
An inspirational Irish garden designer, Mary Reynolds, has created gardens that evoke wild Ireland; they're lovely, and totally wonderful, but I'm mindful that they evoke an Ireland that has been shaped by humans for over a thousand years, and have been totally transformed from whatever they once were, prior to logging and agriculture.
Interesting how we respond to places and landscapes, both "natural" and not.