The Weekend Post - Cairns Eye - - Front Page -

In the Chris­tian con­text gar­dens play a big part in the Easter li­turgy. The bib­li­cal story set in the Gar­den of Geth­se­mane is one that sets the scene for the com­ing cru­ci­fix­ion and the res­ur­rec­tion. More crudely, the Easter week­end for us.

Like many sto­ries from the Bi­ble, there is a re­quire­ment for some lat­i­tude and imag­i­na­tion as to lo­ca­tions of fa­mous events. The sub­stance should be left to the in­di­vid­ual to deal with.

The olive trees that are part of the Gar­den of Geth­se­mane are still there.

In fact, the gar­den by that name still ex­ists and is lo­cated at the foot of the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem.

Car­bon dat­ing the re­main­ing trees puts them around the year 1090.

It is be­lieved that these trees, while not sci­en­tif­i­cally re­lated to those of the cru­ci­fix­ion pe­riod, could pos­si­bly be sprouts from the orig­i­nal roots dat­ing back even fur­ther. Again, no solid ev­i­dence ex­ists. Olives have a (bad) habit of shoot­ing after their re­moval if some roots re­main.

One thing is for cer­tain: Olives just love the sandy dry cli­mate be­tween the Dead Sea and the Mediter­ranean (es­pe­cially in and around Jerusalem) and it is com­mon to see 1000-year-old trees with gnarled trunks still pro­duc­ing vi­able crops of fruit.

Pas­sion is part of the Easter pe­riod. This also ex­tends to the sym­bolic use of eggs in a gar­den and the pas­sion­fruit.

The pas­sion­fruit flower lasts for three days. The same pe­riod of the time of the cru­ci­fix­ion to the res­ur­rec­tion. The colour­ful and per­fect cir­cle of petals are said to rep­re­sent the crown of thorns.

These may be his­tor­i­cal ‘add-ons’ but are part of the amuse­ment and mys­ti­cism of the pe­riod. I’m more for the idea that one pas­sions after the sump­tu­ous flavour of the fruit.

No mat­ter what your be­liefs, there is al­ways some sort of hor­ti­cul­ture in the back­ground. After all, we eat it, smell it, wear it, build with it and, as we do now, re­vere it. Happy Easter.

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