From Tom’s Midnight Garden – the vast country-house grounds held trapped in the memory of a tiny city backyard – to The Secret Garden, which Mary Lennox discovers with the help of the robin, to The Selfish Giant‘s garden where Spring will not visit while the children are kept out, there’s something magical about walled gardens.
Continue reading “wallflowers and garden walls”
I’ve said before that when we used to go on family holidays my parents always found room in the suitcases for a few books.
Specifically, there was always the Collins Pocket Guide to British Birds and the Collins Pocket Guide to Wild Flowers, and I must have spent hours identifying and listing the new species we found. (Perhaps it wasn’t just me who had this task – it may have been a more familial activity, or perhaps we even had a competition to see which sibling found the most – but my memory is only of my own lists.)
Continue reading “educational”
I was delighted to find snow drops on my walk into town yesterday, but they were only just coming into flower, so I didn’t get any good pictures. Perhaps there will be more next weekend.
I also I found this strange leafless shrub, with flowers the colour of forsythia or winter jasmine. I knew the lack of leaves meant it couldn’t be the latter, but I wondered whether it might be a very early forsythia whose petals had become deformed because it had blossomed too early.
As usual, Google has provided the answer: it is in fact witch hazel. If that doesn’t count as winter magic, I don’t know what does.
I don’t know when I first heard the saying “God gave us memory so that we might have roses in December”**, but it made sense to me as I was brought up in Britain and grew up thinking of the rose as the perfect symbol of English summer.
Later, I realised that I was wrong to think of the flower as typically English: I’ve seen the Rose Parade in Pasadena and elsewhere on the blog I’ve pondered the character of Spanish roses. But I still tend to associate roses with better weather.
That said, I took the above photo earlier this week.
True, the blooms are a little the worse for wear – if I was remembering a rose, I think I’d picture one in rather better condition. Frankly, though, I don’t think they should have been there at all.
** The quote is attributed to J M Barrie, though when he used it in a rectorial address in 1922 he seems to have expected his audience to be familiar with it.
“Everything’s late this year,” said my aged mother, when I took her a cup of tea in bed this morning.
I thought that was rather unkind – it was only seven o’clock and who on earth expects their visitors to provide tea in bed before that on a Sunday?
But the theme has continued throughout the morning:
Continue reading “late”
“[T]here is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”
As Shakespeare clearly understood when he had Hamlet say the above line, everything in life is affected by our personal perspective.
And our perspective depends very much on where we were born and brought up, and on the social and family values we were exposed to as children. Even beauty is a learned concept.
Continue reading “it’s complicated**”