Humankind’s relationship with nature has always been a complex one: we are awed by its rugged beauty but have attempted, through our gardens, to tame it to our wills. Sometimes this contrast between wild, raw nature and the humanly-moulded forms of the cultivated and planned garden, can bring a fresh perspective to how we view plant life. The intricacies of the plant-human connection have always fascinated me, especially as it finds reflection in gardens and the act of gardening. Despite our efforts to cultivate and grow, nature remains outside of our complete control. There also exists in plant life a poignant paradox since so many flowers are fragile and delicate, yet the plant’s cycle shows its resilience and hardiness. Through the barrenness of Winter to the bursts of bright Spring, the plant survives and blossoms in a riot of colour. Theses shades, in turn, affect our moods and influence our feelings, so much so that flowers carry symbolic value in many cultures. The Mountain Bride, for instance, is worn in the lapels of suitors hoping their brides will look favourably on their proposals. The flower bears promise and desire. Symbolic, too, is the specially cultivated rose since it epitomises the interaction between mankind and nature: the original flower is grafted by human hands and changed till it displays the qualities the grower covets. When it has the longed-for colours, aroma, size and shape it has become the perfect combination of the work of the human and Divine. Painting such flowers is an extension of this- the human hand gives shape to that created by a Greater Hand.
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