It certainly has been late coming this year, but finally we’ve had sunshine. And, enough sunshine for the flowers to truly get into their blooming stride. My backyard, not the sunniest of spaces, now has the late-flowering pheasant’s eye daffodil, a selection of aquilegias and a few alliums all out together.
Also this week a visit and wander around the local park offers a fine testament to the sun’s essential, life-giving force. It was delightful to see the azaleas and rhododendrons bringing colour to the partial shade of the fresh green canopy of deciduous trees.
And, out in the more open area there was the wild meadow-style planting of cow parsley mixed with clumps of spurge.
Even the more formal park-planting that borders the park entrance was full of loose, cheery colour. Although pansies and forget-me-nots are usually a spring combination, the answer to the question ‘End of Spring or Beginning of Summer?’ is, I think, most definitely the beginning of summer.
One small aside, even without deliberately or even mildly consciously choosing to take inspiration from all this welcome floral spectacle, it is most undoubtedly influencing my work.
12 thoughts on “End of Spring or Beginning of Summer?”
You are certainly influenced in your work by the colours around. I loved the shot of pansies.
Yes, I have in the past been a little sniffy about pansies, but this display has made me convert. And, they bloom earlier enough in the year to be particularly welcome.
Unlike you I love pansies with their little faces looking at you
It’s certainly the beginning of summer. For one week only? Your back yard must be a lovely space.
English weather, hey, but at least we always having something to talk about.
Allium is in bloom now in my area too. I love them, wish they lasted longer, but I also like their spiky later stages.
And, their spiky form is so clean they’re almost architectural. I leave mine in the garden until they are completely dried out and the seed has either dropped, or been eaten by the birds.
Yes, I do the same. I love their look of being some kind of space station or else a magic orb.
Ahh, but the Bolton Lane entrance shot threw me straight back to the passage in my memoir “I was digging in the front garden, swinging a rusty mattock high over my head, thumping it into the weed-choked, rock-hard soil. I was determined to transform this barren patch into a sea of purple and gold, my favourite colours, colours of passion and happiness. I imagined the yellow daffodils and purple violas I would grow in a profusion of bright colour and happy faces. I ignored the fact that nothing I planted ever grew. The soil was infertile, and I knew nothing of growing seasons. I thought if I stuck something in the ground and watered it, it would grow to look like the picture on the packet. Silly me. The only things that ever grew in our yard were straggly bush roses and kikuyu grass.”
Ah Gwen, I meant to say before now when I listened to your memoir during lockdown, how I thought you are now, and were then, incredibly strong, courageous and undaunted. Through the book I often felt so, so angry at how you were treated. Also, at the same time I, too, remember those days and the almost ‘Victorian’ attitudes towards women. I do think that perhaps there were more rigid social constraints at that time in Australia than in the UK, but now you seem to have leapfrogged us. My sister visited New Zealand in the early 80s and said she thought it was similar to accounts she’d read of Britain in the 1950s. Last week there was a series of interviews on a BBC radio news programme with women (including one MP) who had had their babies taken away from them. I guess over the years the response of the police and authorities to abuse and violence against women has got better, but there’s still a way to go despite the #metoo movement. I am so pleased you found a great career and a fantastic life partner. I remember when you first published your memoir that there were a few people who weren’t very kind to you. I suggest that says more about them than you. I thought your book was excellent and your reading was brilliant (and I listen to a lot of books). I just couldn’t believe you were a non-professional narrator.
I didn’t realise you’d listened to my book. Thank you! And for such positive feedback. The audio recording was daunting. Four full days in the studio, and none consecutive.. Each time you had to resume the same sitting position and distance from the microphone as the previous session. It was a two hour trip to reach there each morning, and my voice was cold at the start. And as luck would have it, I got a bit snuffly on one day. Even more of a challenge was that a wildly successful author, Tara Moss, had been in the chair before me. No pressure there 🙂 .
Who knew so much was involved? I cannot bear to listen to the playback, but then – who likes the sound of their recorded voice? So all that makes your last sentence all the more valued.
Until the election of Gough Whitlam in December 1972 (Labor – but he was from a very Patrician family), Australia had stagnated under 23 years of the Liberal (Conservative) Robert Menzies. He said of the Queen, ‘I did but see her walking by, and yet I love her till I die”. It was a quote that bordered on plagiarism, but you can see what we “rebellious” women were up against. Unfortunately, Whitlam’s reign came just that fraction too late for me, and he was sacked by the Governor General a few years later. Australia wasn’t ready for so much social change, so quickly.
You know I absolutely meant my praise for your narration and I never once felt a change in gear when you were at the beginning or towards the end of a session which I do occasionally notice with some audiobook readers. You must be proud of your memoir and you should also definitely be proud of your audio performance. I have it in my audible library and I will be listening to it again for sure.
Yes, conservative ‘same old, same old’ has been and still is bad news for many women around the world. In a democracy I see why men vote for it, but for the life of me I don’t get conservative voting women. Even that Queen, (he loved till he died – excuse me but🤮), has had to change and modernise.