In the last three weeks, our lives have got smaller. Our circles have contracted to the immediate environment.
At this time of year, I always take a morning walk and an evening walk around the garden. After the winter, it is a gift to reconnect with every detail.
The pear blossom started us off, but the apple is readying itself. I love it at this stage of pink.
The pear and the apple and this crab apple stand over the rose garden, like protective presences. The crab apple has the darkest maroon leaves, and the darkest, deepest pink blossom.
I’m not sure of the variety, because, like the apple and the pear, it was planted before we moved here. It is similar to Malus ‘Royalty’, but I think darker.
The blossom changes from day to day, hour to hour. Truth be known, I can take several slow walks around the garden each day, and note each minute change.
Peony foliage seems to grow by the inch each day. I have grown to know each clump intimately. ‘Coral Charm’ is always the first up, the quickest to grow strong, and the first to put out bed-knobs of buds. But the intersectional peonies are my favourite for foliage. They are the most feathered, the most sculpted, the most elegant.
I take the long walk down the bright border, through the vegetable garden, to the very end of our garden. In this tapering triangle, we have planted four more apple trees, and I have made an attempt at a meadow.
Last year, when emptying the raised beds of spent tulip bulbs, I didn’t know quite what to do with them. It seemed wasteful to just dump them. So I re-planted them around the apple trees. They have re-emerged more delicate, but also more wild-looking than before. I like them like this.
Plants, like people, can surprise you, when planted into a new environment.
I planted the fritillaries for my daughter, Caty. I know she loves them. I wonder if she has noticed them? Just having planted them for her gives me pleasure, because they remind me of her each time I see them. A little moment of intimacy.
These raised beds in our vegetable plot are Stevie’s domain. I note that he has raked them to a fine tilth, something I rarely have the patience to do. It is the differences between us that I appreciate. An often unspoken intimacy.
Like peonies, I love rose foliage in April. I love all foliage in April. The way is catches the light and shows its luminous translucency. It shows its vulnerability. It has not yet toughened; it hasn’t been nibbled by creatures. It is its own pure self, taking up its own space, knowing how to be.
I walk back around, coming back into the flower garden, my domain. This is one of my favourite views, with the morning sun filtering around the corner of the house.
If I stand under the cherry tree, I can appreciate both blossom and tulips together.
Oh, cherry blossom. I love how it dangles. I love how the sun shines through, and you see the shadows of the stamens on the petals.
It is my favourite blossom to look up through. Blossom against blue sky.
I have been visiting the tulips every day, patiently waiting.
I plant this bed with different tulips each year. It is my biggest extravagance.
I play with new varieties and old. ‘Orange Cassini’ is a new favourite, ‘Attila’s Graffiti’ an old one.
‘Orange Cassini’ is beautiful in every light. It has subtle gradations of warm pink-peach and coral in the morning light, and vibrant orange in the afternoon and evening light. I love it just touched with dew, a little blue.
I love it in the afternoon, with its petals relaxed, allowing the sunlight to shine through. Its pink is more pink, its orange more orange.
This is intimacy. When you can be with someone, something, yourself, in all lights, in all moods. You can sit with the feelings. You can be blue, you can be tickled pink. You can show your tender parts. You can open to the sun, or bow with the moon.
Tulip ‘Cerise Parrot’ has bed hair. Like many human beings right now, it is looking a little shaggy. I love how it flecked with green and purple. It has scars. It has a few rough edges. That’s ok, we like those. It makes things interesting.
Here is the tulip bed in the evening, with the light pouring through the greenhouse. I love how the light shines though the tulip leaves. Light and shadow; transparency; intimacy.
I am getting to know these tulips. It takes time. We have that. We can sit with one another, with ourselves. Accept the imperfections; offer kindness.
There will be dark times, there will be light. There will be time to open up, time to close down. We’re all learning.
I hope that you too take time to walk around your space, and get to know the minute details and the changes. You might find things you don’t like. That’s ok. Offer kindness. We don’t have to be perfect.
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