By Mary Mageau

white passion flower

The sunrise was glorious this morning and I’m standing under a powder blue sky, speechless at the array of flowers spread before me. Dew still clings to their vibrantly coloured petals as they lift themselves toward the sun. The plantings in this unique heritage garden first captured my attention―all the favourites of a nineteenth century formal garden. Based on an original design from the 1840s, masses of snapdragons, forget-me-nots, scarlet impatients and brown-eyed Susans are offset by tall stalks of hollyhocks and larkspur. Beds of roses and French lavender perfume the air. Several large shrubs together with mature elms and towering oaks define the height of its scale. But I’m not here only to gaze at this lovingly tended spread on the D’Entrecasteau Peninsula, in Tasmania’s Lower Snug. I’m here on a mission with my camera, ready to capture photos of these beauties in their early morning freshness.

Later I indulge in the pleasure of viewing and editing the morning’s work on my computer screen. To my surprise other visitors, nature’s miniature helpers, also appear within the plants to feast on their sweet nectar and gather pollen. One little ant descends along the stem of a passionfruit blossom, its tiny body resembling three gleaming black beads. Nearly hidden from sight in the cup of a pink lily nestle two small ladybugs. The first buzzing sound of arriving bees had become a roar as they swarmed over the face of each flower, busily gathering pollen for the return flight home. It’s an absolute delight to peer down into this universe as one insect after another comes into view. Each group is uniquely different from all the others in this kingdom. And like the flowers each one is exquisitely made.

pink lilies

My camera has captured them at work. These small creatures all labour tirelessly, displaying a total dedication to their purpose. They toil energetically―moving with feverish speed―pausing only to connect with one another by brushing their antenna or performing a little dance. They keep the environment clean by carrying away decaying plant material and dead insects. They propagate the plants that feed us while their spread of pollen maintains our rich biodiversity. Their bodies also provide food for larger birds and mammals. They are as interesting to observe as the beauty of the flowers that shelter and sustain them.

I’ve discovered that insects are a joy to behold and to study.
God bless our world of creatures both great and small.

bee in red and yellow flower