gardens past and present

Every house I ever lived in before moving out of home at the age of eighteen had a glorious garden. Not because my parents chose to live in houses with particularly great landscaping, but because my mum is an avid gardener, and she could always turn any space of dirt, no matter how barren, into a little piece of natural magic.

Mum and Dad moved recently, and they now live in a house that I have never lived in. But the garden is unmistakably that of my childhood. I suppose like anything creative, each gardener has a distinct style. I don't know enough about gardening to be able to describe the specifics of my mum's gardens. I just know they look like home.

Mum's gardens are graceful, elegant, classic and gloriously cluttered all at once. They are completely unpretentious and designed with a perfect balance of beauty and functionality in mind. Like every home Mum and Dad have ever created, the gardens always offer old-fashioned warmth and hospitality, welcoming family and friends in to admire, to engage, to play, to enjoy.

They are always filled with a plethora of colours both magnificent and shy, but I think the timelessness of their design, as well as my own nostalgia, make black and white a suitable choice here. Specifically, the wonderfully antiquated plastic camera/black-and-white combination.

Plantlife isn't the only thing in the Parry gardens, though. Birds play a key role as both reproductive aids for the flowers and, in the case of the photographed birds here, food.

This is probably the most appealing of these photos. Something about old-fashioned film with an old-fashioned camera shooting chooks through the chicken wire.

I don't really like chooks - they poo everywhere, they escape from the coop and you have to chase them around the garden like a lunatic, and I'm not very good at feeding things regularly. Similarly, I've never been enthusiastic about creating a garden of my own - or maintaining one, for that matter. Despite this marked lack of interest in gardening or bird-rearing, however, chooks in a chookpen and beautiful gardens will always give me comfort and joy, if for no other reason than they make me feel like I'm home.

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