12 Sep THE EXOTIC GARDEN
The planet earth was in a mess, pollution of the sea, pollution of the air and pollution of the land. It was all the fault of one faction The Human Race. With their obsession for technical development in the last hundred or so years, the poor old ‘Mother Earth’ could not adapt fast enough as it had done for billions of years.
In a remote part of Saudi Arabia among the sand dunes there was a fertile area carefully planted with flora from all parts of the world. It was a tremendous accomplishment made possible by the incredible wealth and enthusiasm of an oil rich Sultan. He felt that it was a good thing to put something back into the environment especially since his vast fortune was built on the worst pollutant ever discovered by man Oil.
The sweet heavy scents of the beautiful jungle flowers hung heavily in the air over the South American section, which was well separated from the African, the Asian and European parts of the exotic gardens in the Sultan’s luxurious palace. This was to try and keep the risk of cross pollination of the species to a minimum. Indeed much thought had been put into the layout to try and preserve the quality of the exhibits as they were in their native environment.
All the different sections were joined by lush grassy walkways, only the best quality grass was grown there and visitors were chauffeured around in electric golf buggies to keep air pollution to a minimum.
The hundreds of gardening staff, all specialists in their own fields, had been recruited from all over the world. They laboured long and hard to ensure the quality of their plants and they would fiercely compete with each other to have the best examples of blooms and plants in the display for which there was a monthly prize for what the Sultan considered to be the best in show.
The Sultan was justifiably proud of his achievement he had spent years personally gathering trees, shrubs and plants from all corners of the world, then creating the perfect environment for them to flourish. Many university biological departments sent parties of Professors and students to view the specimens and talk to the custodians of the different sections as well as the Sultan himself. His personal guided tours of the ten acre homage to nature’s beauty were a must for any visiting foreign dignitaries, politicians and royal families.
Beyond the exotic garden he had his own personal indulgence his own private polo field the sweet lush grass was well irrigated and tended by a large force of grounds-men keeping the playing surface absolutely perfect. Visiting international polo teams all agreed that there was no better venue in the world and it was a pleasure to play there.
As the sun climbed into the morning sky, the gardening staff began their day’s work on all the different species, carefully guarding their methods and potions from competitors prying eyes.
The pair looked down on the incredible vision from a hill overlooking the sight in the watery sunlight of the early dawn, as the intensity of the light increased the colours became stronger. They had come a long way and having rested they were seeing the exotic garden for the first time.
“It is truly beautiful” he said “ Look at those Palm trees with the bright orange flowers, they were flown all the way from Hawaii and the sulphur rich volcanic soil to plant them in was brought as well so that they could maintain the colour”
His companion also surveyed the splendour laid out before them.
“Look at those beautiful red roses, they were brought over from Europe, I wonder if they thought to bring the horse manure too” they both chuckled at the thought of an aeroplane loaded with horse muck.
“The whole thing is admirable, the colours and aromas are captivating and evocative to ones senses I’m so glad we made the effort to come here it was well worth it. These Arab people have certainly spared no expense to create something so unusual yet so attractive in this barren desolate land.”
His friend agreed.
“I suppose we should be grateful to the Sultan for the privilege of being able to enjoy the wonders of the horticultural world all gathered together in one place.”
They marvelled as the sun rose higher above the horizon lighting the colours of the blooms and shapes of the trees which were so alien to their current drought savaged environment of their own homeland.
“You have the pick of the world’s finest Flora but honestly where would you start, given the choice?” he asked.
After a few moments thought his friend took a deep breath and replied
“Well I think the African plains section has many interesting species, and after all it is what we’re familiar with but I must say the perfection of each type is unusual and would be unlikely in the natural environment because of the drought situation in the Serengeti. There the plants struggle to reach maturity before they are scorched to death by the cruel sun. These artificially watered and cultivated examples are amongst the finest I have ever seen.”
“Yes” he said “I agree but it’s a pity that the Sultan doesn’t use some of his wealth to improve the areas that these plants originate from. There is so much that could be done, irrigation and cleaner air would be a good start.”
His friend thought for a moment.
“Yes that would make our lives easier for sure I mean, how far have we had to come to this place, over two days flight. It’s worth the effort of course the stories we will be able to relate to our children when we get back. I don’t know about everyone else but it has been a long journey and I personally am starving.”
“Well the sun is well up now and I think it’s about time we got started”
With that he launched himself into the air and the rest of the swarm of voracious locusts followed him into the Exotic Garden!
1024 words Michael White 2020