Garden Nocturne

Much can be done to a garden's design but there's little you can do about the views it enjoys. That belongs to the the luck of the draw. I'm lucky to have a couple of good ones in my garden, the one pictured above is interesting in that it only really 'works' at night.

Walking from the gate to the front door is a view of my six durian trees. The land is stepped with the house on  the upper step and the orchard on the lower one so the view is more of the upper part of the trees. In the daytime all this is visually busy, your eye doesn't really settle on any one place. When darkness falls however all this is cleaned up into a few shadowy tones and the inky silhouette of the trees trace the edge of the vast negative space that starts where they end. You are compulsed to look heavenward at a huge sky that on any given night could be anything from cobalt to a deep sapphire or fifty shades of gray.

The spell is more potent on nights with a full moon. In fact I'm very likely to come outside again and again, just to see what games of hide and seek are being played.  Occasionally there is also the dazzling sight of a cloudless night encrusted with stars.

This part of the garden is also where night creatures dwell. When the durian is in flower it is alive with bats who dart madly in the darkness, furious at work. On occasion I have seen the silhouette of a civet walk the top of the fence like a tightrope artist.  Beyond the fence and across the street is jungle from where sounds from even wilder nameless creatures sometimes carry on a still night.

Some nights my dog Dusun will bark at something that has, in his opinion breached our territory. I follow his gaze into the  darkness as he continues to berate the intruder. Eerie as that is, its happened enough times that I just acknowledge that it is something but not anything of great importance. 'Good boy' I tell him to communicate these two things.

Less sinister is the call of the nightjar, the hum of crickets the rat a tat of a moth bouncing off the porch light watched patiently by the geckos. Occasionally I see fireflies high in the trees or catch the perfumed drift of Tembusu blossoms from down the street or the Gardenia from just across.

Its usually at night that I water the potted bamboos and orchids on my porch and my other dog Pala takes this as her cue to burrow into her kapok bed. After which I go to padlock the gate and on returning to my front door take in that heavenly view one more time.

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