Reconnecting with nature - a student's perspective
We spend our days becoming increasingly disconnected from the world around us and each other. We’re losing touch with nature, with our health and with the things that once brought us joy.
Whilst studying second year Landscape Architecture at Unitec, I’ve learnt that the landscape around us is what forms us. From the cities we build to the technology we develop, it’s the landscape that inspires what we create and shapes who we become.
I believe we need to stay connected to this world that gives us so much inspiration, by creating spaces that help us cultivate a healthy mind. And it’s that thought of how to become connected to nature, that helped me develop the concept of my New Zealand Flower and Garden Show entry - The Interbeing. A symbol in the landscape.
I took inspiration from the Chinese Religion-Philosophy Taoism. Taoism emphasizes living in harmony with the Tao “The Way”. I wanted to create a symbol in the landscape that I could look back on in the future and remember what living in harmony with the Tao meant to me.
I wanted to draw the four elements - Water, Wind, Fire and Earth - into one garden within the Yin and Yang, while ensuring each element still had its space and true aesthetic. I wanted the design to allow visitors to adopt the spaces and to experience it however they wanted to.
When you find yourself in the middle of all four pathways you are in the Interbeing. The middle of Water, Air, Fire and Earth, The middle of Yin and Yang. The Opposites. A place where we can pause, breathe and reconnect with the natural World.
The Tao for me is the way of trying to be natural in life, living in harmony with nature. It’s inspired me to one day become a landscape architect, and add a little bit more Yin and Yang to the landscape around me.
Last year was the second time I’d entered the show. In 2017 I’d created a balcony kitchen garden and won a bronze medal. To win bronze again last year, this time in the large display garden against international entrants - bigger budget, bigger site and tougher judging - was like ‘wow’. I was proud to even finish it let alone take out a prize. I was the youngest in the show and one of the most inexperienced, yet I completed the garden with the support of a great bunch of mates. I would definitely recommend to other students and people in the discipline to have a go. What I learnt through the process was invaluable. It was a lot of stress and a lot of fun, but hey this didn’t hurt anyone.
Because I’m still learning I’m not entirely sure where my career will take me once I graduate at the end of next year. There’s still a lot to learn and I’m keeping my eyes open to opportunities and possibilities. But it’s an exciting profession to be embarking on, one with the ability to really make positive change.
Footnote: Justice Bellamy is a third year Bachelor of Landscape Architecture student at Unitec.