Morning has broken….

Morning has broken

like the first morning…

Blackbird has spoken

like the first bird….

What an apt song that is for reflecting the joy and hope of life; flowers, friends, birds and gardens…..,

Spring and Summer in Zimbabwe are upon us…

Yellow clivias in our garden herald Spring

I am feeling so very deeply the loss, the absence in our garden, of our father, our gramps our great grandfather, Arthur Barrie ….
He lived with us and was truly our ‘constant gardener’. From babyhood he thought us to nurture, to praise and to notice all living growing things, all seasons ….

Dad in the garden

What a roller coaster few months since my dear dads 90th birthday party at Mulberry Restaurant. We have suddenly lost him- he passed away peacefully in our arms at home in his bed.
I, my daughter Kelli, and my Sisi Clare (sister-in-law) were with Dad as he passed away, and we remembered with him, reminisced with him and reminded him with joy of what a legacy he has left all of us family and all of his friends…

Dads favourite – pure white petunias that he planted every year without fail

…. A legacy of love for his neighbours and family, a joy in walking, in art, a passion for owls and all birds, for bush, sunrises, growing gardens, moonphases and flowers!

Dad and the wooden owl sculpture in our garden – the sculptors of this magnificent bird are the talented Zimbabwean Zata brothers

Dad’s hand painted cards and calendars featuring trees and spotted eagle owls were treasured by all of us…

One of Dad’s cards

Dad will be in every flower I paint, every seed I nurture and every rock I touch ….

Linneria from Steph Watson flowering and calling the bees!

My release from sadness is in waking up to birdsong, painting flowers, painting gramp’s flowers, painting friends flowers…

Bright flowers make bright days …

Painting the garden and flowers around me is my balm, my joy in the midst of grief…


One of my “Palm Bouquet” paintings … palm frond, ranunculus and sweet peas, acrylic on canvas board, each one is 51 x 41 cm

Gardening, watering and wandering Dad’s wonderful spaces gives me purpose…

Zinnias from Ashleigh

The joy of gardens is in sharing special plants with friends and family- growing gifts…

Daisies from Peggy Williams, (in honour of my mums name Daisy and her favourite colour -Yellow!)

Painting the multitudinous flowers is my therapy-

Part of my larger painting “Alyssum, Petunias and All”!

The full painting nestles beneath the white petunias that it features…

Lin Barrie, “Alyssum, Petunias and All!”
Acrylic on canvas, framed
61 x 91 cm actual painting (larger with frame)

We plan a memorial morning tea for Dad on Thursday 7th October -10am till 12 noon at Mulberry Restaurant, BB Club, Borrowdale Brooke Estate.

The memorial for Gramps will be a bit different. I would like to ask all to bring their favourite herb, succulent or other plant in a sleeve or a pot and place it on a communal table, from which everyone can then choose someone else’s plant , taking away their new chosen plant to nurture in their own gardens in happy memory of dad.

Good friends and family, wide open spaces, bird song, and flowers to honour the legacy of love for nature, birds and gardens that dad left us all with.

Dad was not a purist gardener- he made good compost, sowed his seeds carefully and with love, and gave a multitude of different beloved plants the chance to spring fresh from the earth and compete gaily with each other for his admiration and attention!

Plantings of annuals in pots enabled dad to selectively water according to need with his watering can, saving wastage- always waterwise was Dad!

When I came to Harare to be with my dad as he became ill, those few frighteningly short, yet astonishingly long weeks ago, little knowing the desperate turn things would take, I was able to drop some leadwood installation poles plus paintings at Gallery Delta hours before the sudden loss of my Dad in my arms, and hours before the creeping Covid caught me as well, put me into quarantine and laid me flat in my daughter Kelli’s arms….

Leadwood fence posts for installation at Gallery Delta, as per a previous discussion with treasured artist and mentor, Helen Lieros, before she passed away with Covid

Amidst all the grief of losing our dad, there followed a few “on-the-edge” days when physically I felt very down, and my lovely doctor Cathy Chidoori had an ambulance on speed dial with her finger poised, (!)…but that worry soon passed and my breathing never quite got to a dangerous point. Kelli’s and Cathy’s care of me prevailed and Kelli and I have both actually valued the mandatory isolation in our own quiet garden space together… time to grieve, to cry, laugh, remember….

Kelli and her special ‘Gramps’ at his 90th Birthday

I am indeed feeling empowered, liberated, to create from the intense memories and joy all around me in this harare garden.

Dad loved this head-height scarlet red begonia variety… called it “Painted Toenails” and said that the toenails belonged to naughty angels who had been barred from heaven because of their scarlet nails!

Painted Toenails

I am gardening daily as well as painting, doing seed collections, propagating cuttings, sowing Dads packets of collected seeds as the season changes and the strong August winds blow leaves and flower petals around my paintings and toss my paint and flowers artistically onto the concrete Verandah floor!

Wind art

Our ‘Constant Gardener’ helpmate, Biggie, who was Dad’s true friend, a smiling and able companion in helping dad to create the garden that we love, tells me that the delightful Shona name for these particular fierce August winds is “Nyamavuvu”…

‘Nyamavuvu’ Art!

Biggie has become the ‘constant gardener’ and sieves fine homemade compost gently over the three types of zinnia seeds we have just scattered…

Biggie the gentle and constant gardener

Dad’s garden tip: Clever use of a water bath in a wheelbarrow soaks the seeds from the base up so that water droplets don’t displace the delicate layers of seeds before they are able to germinate …

Soaking gently to encourage new life….

And a few weeks later- three types of seeds successfully begin new life… dad would approve!

New life begins..

One of our installations-a garden totem erected by Dad, is a leadwood fencepost from the cattle era of the Save Valley Conservancy, my other treasured home. This post presides over our fire pit, with offerings nestled in every notch….
Inspiration for my own leadwood post installation to go up at the “Freedom” exhibition at Gallery Delta.

The leadwood post which guards our fire pit

Dad had such an eye for the abstract, the art, of everyday objects … bones on a string installation amidst artfully placed plants… and an old farm lamp burning with childhood memories…

The old farm lamp burns in our garden

A full moon rising over our palm trees. The full moon always draws me, a full moon = a full cycle of life

Full moon in our garden

Morning has broken…

Flowers and birdsong fill my mind and my garden as I wake each morning and stare out at the promise of a new day- I thrill to the trill of the robin chat after a night of owl calls-

The start of my day- my view into the garden from my bedroom doors

Each day feels like a new start… is a new start

Snapdragons bounce out- gifts from dad’s garden that grow and grow….,

treasures from dads plantings and gifts from friends…

Steph Watson and Di Kerr of Huku-Mombe, gift me flowers…

The bunches of sweet peas and ranunculus I am gifted from Steph, grown by Di of Huku Mombe – look at those irises!
Hope in a flower….

Huku Mombe irises

and my painting of sweet peas and those affirmative irises grows…using charcoal and acrylic …

Moonlight in my garden , diptych, mixed media, each is 61 x 46 cm

I have beaten Covid, am growing in strength…much as the stunning irises gifted to dad on his birthday are growing in strength in our garden…

Our Irises bring joy, a growing gift to please and uplift …

Lying in bed I listen to Dads spotted eagle owls calling most nights, plus the barn owls, wood owls and greater galagos (bush babies) which thrive in the trees and dense gardens of the Brooke. As I imagine the flight of the owls out there in the night, I am excited for the “Freedom” exhibition that Helen Lieros and Derek Huggins were planning before we lost them also to COVID – I am so honoured to be part of that, as the delta trustees are forging ahead, honouring her wishes and setting up the show as her own last wish, her “last show”….
Helen had asked me to participate the last time I saw her in Borrowdale…. And then everything in our worlds turned upside down and we lost her, lost Derek …. So next weekend we’ll have an invited artists meeting at the gallery delta and plan from there. Something strong and good for me to focus on.

Dad, you have given me wings, strong foundations to build on as I sketch and paint the Nike, the Winged Greek Goddess of Victory, such a symbol of hope, freedom, flight….

Lin Barrie, “Nike Freedom I”, mixed media on canvas, 141 x 86 cm

the energy and love that I feel from our flowers, our installations, the birds and the butterflies in our garden empower me …

The Pearl Spotted Charaxes-Dad always loved this butterfly, fluttering round our garden with the warmer spring weather

The windy season brings sweet colours and flower petals thrown together by the August gusts …

The yellow of Spring!

Sweet peas….

The towering trellis of sweet peas that my father always grew in our sunny garden when I was a child, a wall of colour and bees to look up at, a screen of delicious perfume to wrap yourself in, lies gentle and sweet-scented on my mind…

Moonlight in the garden of good and evil… life and death, promise of rebirth…so many memories past and promises future…

Summer in Zimbabwe will bring vibrant Msasa colour to our gardens and Miombo woodlands- memories of seasons past, favourite Msasa trees and birding walks with dear dad through one of our favourite bird ‘gardens’ – the Mukuvisi Woodlands …

Lin Barrie, “Msasa Season”, diptych, 
acrylic on canvas,
76 x 51 cm each panel

No matter the season, we LOVE our garden, the memories past and the promise to come…

Our garden wall

About wineandwilddogs

Lin Barrie The Save Valley Conservancy stretches along the upper reaches of the great Save River in the south east of Zimbabwe. The Gonarezhou National Park laps against the southern banks of the Save River and between these two nestles the Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve. These three celebrated wildlife areas form part of the Greater Limpopo Transfrontier Conservation Area, (GLTFCA)- a unique wilderness jewel which is home to the “Big Five” (endangered Black and White rhinos, elephants, buffalo, lion, leopard) and the ”Little Six” (Klipspringer, Suni, Duiker, Steenbok, Sharpe's Grysbok and Oribi). Endangered African wild dogs, Cheetah, Brown hyena, Bat-eared foxes and a host of special birds and plants contribute to the immense variety of this ecosystem. Communities around the GLTFCA contribute to innovative partnerships with National Parks and the private sector, forming a sound base on which to manage social, economic and environmental issues. This is home to artist and writer Lin Barrie and her life partner, conservationist Clive Stockil. Expressing her hopes, fears and love for this special ecosystem with oil paints on canvas, Lin Barrie believes that the essence of a landscape, person or animal, can only truly be captured by direct observation. Lin Barrie states: “Through my art, and my writing, I feel an intimate connection with the natural world, and from my extensive field sketches of wild animals, people and landscapes, I create larger works on canvas. Lin's work is in various public and private collections in South Africa, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Australia, England, Canada, Sweden and the United States of America. She is represented by galleries in South Africa, Zimbabwe, England, Kenya and Florida, USA.
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13 Responses to Morning has broken….

  1. Mariam Nice says:

    Such a beautiful tribute to a wonderful father, grandfather and man. Beautiful work Lin!

  2. Suki V says:

    Wonderfully put Lin. What a time. Wishing you all strength, grit and peace.

  3. Eugenie Sparrow says:

    Beautiful to read your story of your precious dad. May he rest in peace. Glad you are recovering from covid

  4. Rob Jarvis says:

    Fabulous collection of memories Lin! Your Dad must have been someone special.

  5. Katharina Games says:

    Exchanging a plant in honor of your father’s memory is a beautiful legacy and a reassuring reminder of how we are all part of nature’s constant growth and biophotonic energy. What a better place to go back to than a garden full of beauty and life!

  6. Deryn says:

    What a lovely tribute to your Dad! I am so thankful that you and your daughter have recovered so we can enjoy more of your art and blog. It took me right back to the old days in Rhodesia, the things you described cannot be replicated anywhere else on earth. Loved the ‘huku mombie’ irises.

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