Go and look at flowers

Go and look at flowers

A wonderful story of a woman who decides her grandchildren need to spend more time looking at nature and talking to people.  I loved her humorous and decisive course of action and the fact that she was so loved by her family that they forgave her technological...
A bouquet of kindness

A bouquet of kindness

This Russian writer remembers moments in her harsh Siberian childhood where someone showed passing kindness and in so doing, made her and her sister feel they were recognised as human beings.  Coming as they did from a family of political exiles, in a system where the...
The colour of poppies

The colour of poppies

A searching definition for the precise shade of California poppies, as recalled in Steinbeck’s East of Eden.  Not orange, you understand, but golden cream.And mixed with these were splashes of California poppies. These too are of a burning color – not...
Exchange of gifts

Exchange of gifts

What a lovely moment, the exchange of small, loving gifts, with Golding and his friend receiving a bunch of fresh picked garden flowers. We enjoy such exchanges with one of our neighbours in the form of food gifts – when either of us bakes, something gets taken...
An Elizabethan rose

An Elizabethan rose

Adam Nicolson describes his grandmother finding an unknown tenacious rose in the ruinous place which she renovated and transformed into today Sissinghurst Gardens.  I like that this rose is indestructible and might, just might, trace its roots to the original...
Admiration patches

Admiration patches

Nobody hatched or planned the idea of Admiration Patches.  Instead, they were unconsciously crowd-created by individuals literally ‘voting with their feet’.  The gardens at Sissinghurst have thousands of visitors and by the end of the open season, their...
Catch a falling flower

Catch a falling flower

After weeks of dancing around pandemic implications, we were overjoyed to have three members of my family visit us for ten days.  During their stay we spent a sunny day walking around Geneva before visiting old family friends for tea. ‘Old family friends’...
Luck be lavender tonight

Luck be lavender tonight

Lavender is a resistant plant, surviving a generous spectrum of cold and heat, rain and drought. It’s perhaps therefore an appropriate plant to bring you bomb-dodging luck in a blitz. I liked this anecdote by Steinbeck, firstly the details that people remember...
Emblem of transience

Emblem of transience

A contemplative observation on flowers and their beauty. However, to the transcience I would add resilience. It amazes me how flowers come to places from which they’ve been excluded, if given half a chance. I find them boldly blooming in hair-pin cracks in...
The naming of plants – I

The naming of plants – I

Spontaneously, during this period of self-isolation we have been walking (and in Luiz’s case, biking) more. We are surrounded by countryside and can walk or bike for hours barely crossing paths with others, and if so, at well over the required two metres....
Gathering roses and sprinkling petals

Gathering roses and sprinkling petals

A beautiful, bright image. Mary is one of the finest characters in Middlemarch, with a sure touch and a strong inner light that outshines her outward lack of beauty. She gains and retains the love of a man who needs her steadying strength to right himself. Here he...
Of cake and roses

Of cake and roses

I recently celebrated a birthday. We drove into Geneva for a walk around the old town, stopping for hot chocolates and cakes here and there. Before we left, a friend and neighbour rang the bell to drop off a lace-crocheted initial she had made for me, the letter B...
Sleeping beauty

Sleeping beauty

In the winter of 2004-2005 seven inches of rain fell in Death Valley, a once in generations weather event. When spring came the floor of the valley was a carpet of flowers. It had been sleeping, not dead. I was struck by this account of a rare deluge in a place...
Not now, but soon

Not now, but soon

One of the sweetest sounds of spring is a blossom-bursting tree humming with a hundred bees. And after the blossoms fall and the bees move to the next awakening, you just wait for the fruit to grow and fall.  Not now, but soon, with that ‘somehow, some...
Green power

Green power

No, not wind turbines, nor solar panels. This is the green power that raises ‘purple spires to the midsummer sky’. Foxglove power or, quoting Dylan Thomas, ‘the force that through the green fuse drives the flower’.  I planted a few foxgloves...
Joyeuse Fête des Muguets

Joyeuse Fête des Muguets

Two things to share today, both lily-related.  I first heard of the ‘Fête des muguets’ when I was a teenager and was given a bunch of lilies of the valley. Yesterday in Geneva I was happy to see the shops stocked up with slender, small pots and bunches of...
Lent lilies and swallows’ time

Lent lilies and swallows’ time

A delicious description of the days of mid-April, when the wild narcissus, known as ‘lent lilies’, bloom. We’ve had daffodils and tiny narcissi sunnying the garden for weeks, visited by early-buzzing bees.Williamson’s account includes the...
Humble and graceful

Humble and graceful

The resilience of flowers is something that humbles me, along with their gracefulness. Here they are blooming among the rocks of a dry Biblical land.My own version is a self-seeded viola I found blooming at the edge of a flower pot in mid-winter.  Such delicate leaves...
Of dates and roses

Of dates and roses

What an unusual depiction of a city, here praised by the disciple Andrew in the desert-bright novel about the last days of Jesus, by the author of Zorba the Greek, Kazantzakis.  I wonder if anyone now would think of Jericho in such terms these days? And those...

Pin It on Pinterest