When I was in Adelaide today I decided to spend some time in the Botanic Garden. It is a beautiful place to relax and unwind. I used to visit quite often when I was a student at Adelaide University back in the seventies. I boarded at a girls' hostel within walking distance of uni and I would pass the Garden on my way home.
The total area of the Garden is actually 51 hectares but of course I only walked around a tiny fraction of that area. The Botanic Garden was officially opened back in 1857 and its design was influenced by the royal gardens at Kew in England and Versailles in France. Some of the statues around the Gardens are showing signs of wear as they have been here for many years. This adds a feeling of 'history'.
Old statue. Image:Marie Vonow
The Garden worked its magic on me today, just as it did decades ago when I would sometimes read a novel here. The traffic roared along North Terrace but the tall trees and the bushes absorbed and muffled most of that noise. People wandered along the paths, stopping to admire plants and read the tags informing visitors of their botanical names.
Some people were eating their lunch, either alone or with a companion. No one seemed in a hurry. One young person was lying on a bench enjoying a novel and a couple of other people were reading newspapers.
There are many seats dotted throughout the Garden. Image:Marie Vonow
One of the nicest places, in my opinion, is the large pond where there are many lily pads. I could hear frogs croaking and there were a variety of birds swimming or wading in the water.
Some people come to the Botanic Garden to learn about the wide variety of plants from different parts of the world. Others come simply to unwind in their lunch hour.
These days there are more people living in city apartments and this trend looks likely to increase. They have no garden and so it is important there is somewhere they can spend time and reap the benefits of Nature. Spending time in a natural environment has numerous health benefits.
helps relieve stress
improves cognitive skills
makes people feel more enthusiastic
decreases feeling of anxiety
As little as fifteen minutes walking in a natural environment such as the Botanic Garden can make a person feel more positive and happier. Research suggests human beings have a genetic predisposition to want and need to spend time in Nature.
Studies have shown looking at flowers helps lower blood pressure. Bright colours energise and softer shades have a more relaxing effect. Although the predominant colour in the Garden is definitely green, there are some pretty flowers as well.
Lovely flowers Image:Marie Vonow
I enjoyed wandering around, looking at plants and listening to frogs croaking and birds twittering, quacking or singing. Overall it was very peaceful.
However, there were some parts of the Garden where there was plenty of noise. There were a few groups of excited school children calling to each other and having fun. I heard a few loud mobile phone ring tones. There were workmen using various pieces of machinery as they did maintenance work and gardeners driving around the paths in open top vehicles.
These things did not spoil my relaxing time but made me think about 'the other side of the coin'. Some noise and disturbance is essential if the grounds are to be kept in tip top condition. When children are having fun they are likely to be noisy. It was a good chance for them to let off some steam. Mobile phones, well they are just a part of modern life.