Healing Garden

Healing Garden

Photographer Belinda Fettke steps into a magical garden that is helping one family deal with their mum’s diagnosis.

My photoshoot with Karie and Matthew Hall at their home in Scottsdale, Northern Tasmania was to be all about the magical garden Karie has created for her family. Her artistic flair for creating stunning garden rooms and whimsical spaces around their home was apparent, however, as I walked around the garden I began to understand just how special this project had become.

It not only provided a distraction from Karie’s breast cancer diagnosis, but also a focus for her young family to get through her illness and the confronting treatment she’s had to endure.

Their garden has become a place where they can escape reality and enter a wonderful world of imagination, full of fairies and secret places, love, togetherness and hope.

Pulling into their driveway, I was greeted by three excited children, Billie, Joe and Charli, who were keen to show me the beautiful gardens of Adawood, the place they call home.

What really struck me was the pride they all share in the garden and the respect they give to the little spots each person has made their own.

The children excitedly led me to their favourite places, including the chook shed where Charli pointed out a chicken that was laying an egg under an old chaise lounge. It was a perfect nesting ‘box’ with straw filling the spot where the seat should have been. Joe led me to his cubby and tree houses, while Billie took great pride tending the vegetable garden with her mum before showing me the fairy garden.

Every corner I turned there was another treasure to uncover – mirrors, glass jars, old bikes, miniature fairies and delicate silver bowls with tiny cacti hanging from plants and trellises.

There were tables covered with tea sets and peony roses in lace-wrapped jars. Trinkets hidden under foliage that could only be found if you took time to explore the exquisite canvas that was unfolding.

I was intrigued by the caravan perched on the hill that beckoned me closer. Inside was a treasure trove of tea-party delights, antique bric-a-brac and children’s games…the sort you sit and play with imaginary or real friends.

Karie wanted to tell her garden story to help raise awareness about breast cancer in young women. The project has given her family precious time together, helped them form an even closer bond and opened up a world of imagination they can all share, a place Peter Pan would never want to leave.

Words + Photographs by Belinda Fettke.

Guest Contributor