Tag Archives: spring

Wednesday Wonders

No sitting today;

just a gentle stroll along the Avenue,

Along the Avenue

Along the Avenue

to wonder at the path that brings us here,

Here in Hagley Park, ( the little one ).

Here in Hagley Park, ( the little one ).

year upon year,

to greet the cherry and the daffodil.

Greetings, Little Daffodil :) It's good to see you again.

Greetings, Little Daffodil ūüôā It’s good to see you again.

‘the seeds of every season are sown in the other’¬†

With healing and love,

Gallivanta

© silkannthreades

Special for Steve

Steve Schwartzman showed us a¬†bluebell gentian bud, in north-east Austin, Texas, which prompted me to check out our bluebells in Little Hagley Park, today, September 9th. Our bluebells, hyacinthoides non-scripta, or English bluebells, are completely different from Steve’s, but it is fun to compare not only the bluebells but the quality of the photos. Steve’s photos¬† are, of course, the ones that are infinitely superior to mine. ūüôā¬† But I try, and I did get down on my knees to take some of these photos, so I guess I can say I am attempting to follow in Steve’s kneesteps.

. Across the road in Little Hagley, carpets of bluebells ( Hyacinthoides non-scripta ) bloom where MńĀori traders camped in the early days of the settlemehttp://resources.ccc.govt.nz/files/CityLeisure/parkswalkways/christchurchbotanicgardens/BotanicGardensWalkingGuide.pdf

‘Across the road in Little Hagley, carpets of bluebells (Hyacinthoides non-scripta) bloom
where MńĀori traders camped in the early days of the settlement.’ http://resources.ccc.govt.nz/files/CityLeisure/parkswalkways/christchurchbotanicgardens/BotanicGardensWalkingGuide.pdf

 

© silkannthreades

May the singing never be done

The sun came out,

the sky turned blue.

Blue

Blue

We fled the coop,

for warm, wide spaces

Warm wide space

Warm, wide space

where spring unfurled,

Spring unfurled

Spring unfurled

and our spirits

took flight.

Spitfire TE 288, Replica, Christchurch Airporthttp://jamesevansjenkins.wordpress.com/2012/10/07/the-christchurch-brevet-club/

Spitfire TE 288, Replica, , gift to the Brevet Club Memorial Avenue, Christchurch.

We felt good, like Lynley’s tui,

The tui sings for all to hear; with thanks to Lynley at ordinarygoodnesshttps://ordinarygood.wordpress.com/2014/07/26/tui-atop-a-pohutukawa-tree-today/ for permission to use her beautiful photo

The tui sings for all to hear; with thanks to Lynley at ordinarygoodness for permission to use her beautiful photo.

singing with all its heart, atop the pohutukawa tree.

Everyone Sang
Everyone suddenly burst out singing;
And I was filled with such delight
As prisoned birds must find in freedom
Winging wildly across the white
Orchards and dark-green fields; on; on; and out
of sight.
Everyone’s voice was suddenly lifted,
And beauty came like the setting sun.
My heart was shaken with tears; and horror
Drifted away……O but every one
Was a bird; and the song was wordless; the
singing will never be done.

Siegfried Sassoon¬† (from Palgrave’s Golden Treasury with Additional Poems, OUP, 1935)

This post is dedicated:

to gpcox, pacificparatrooper  who gathers in the stories of veterans and sends them out again, flying with spirit renewed, into the blogosphere;

and

to  Britt, life/history enthusiast, spreading her literary wings with her latest published book, NOLA FRAN EVIE,

BUT the dedication to Britt comes with a proviso…..that she locates the original¬† Totem Pole by Chief Lelooska in Portland. Here’s a clue, Britt. ūüôā

Friendship Totem Pole,  Christchurch Airport

Friendship Totem Pole,
Christchurch Airport

© silkannthreades

Minutiae

The days are busy; the evenings too. Not with big, important tasks;¬† just¬† the minutiae of daily life… . bread to bake, clothes to lavender, meals to prepare, groceries to buy, dishes to wash,¬† feet to scrub, vases to fill, socks to find,¬† hair to brush, a friend to visit, a neighbour to chat to, a letter to write, an email to send, a text to answer, and phone calls to make and¬† to receive….

My mother is improving and gaining strength. She will return home soon, we hope. Her  progress is good. I phone her once, sometimes twice, a day. A hospital is a busy place.  Our conversations are brief.

But I  grab a moment of the call, to talk to my brother or my sister; whoever happens to be with our mother when I phone. They are tired. I hear it in their voices. Whilst one sibling is at the hospital, the other cares for the house and my father. Care responsibilities are 24 hours.

Later, when it is 1 in the morning here, I may phone my sister again. It will be 10pm in Cairns. We discuss the day’s events. I am yawning and, suddenly, my sister switches from talking about hospital matters to something about ‘hammering nails’. I am silent for a while, wondering what this means. My sister is silent, too, for a moment. Then she laughs and asks, “What did I just say?” “Something about nails,” I reply. She laughs again; her great,big, only-my-sister-can-laugh-this-way, laugh. “I fell asleep. I was talking in my sleep,” she says.¬† A short while later, it happens again. We hang up before our words become any more incomprehensible ūüôā

There are other calls to make at other times. To friends; to my aunt, in a rest home, to let her know that her sister is okay; to my uncle and my aunt who are moving to their retirement home. To others we Skype. My father likes to Skype chat. He types well and knows how to use those emoticons ūüėÄ

Thus are the smallnesses that occupy my days; that keep my fingers flying, my voice activated, and my brain engaged (mostly).

But there are other smallnesses that rest my body and mind; that communicate by ancient paths and provide calm and continuity,

and call forth joy every morning.

© silkannthreades

Flower arranging for our mutual benefit

The other day, after spending some time in the garden enjoying the¬†¬† bee chorus and the blue, spring flowers, I felt inspired to refill my vases. My little flower containers have been empty and neglected in recent weeks, through lack of time and inspiration, but when the¬† bees sang their songs, and the flowers¬† waved and swayed and entranced my senses, my hands and heart were set in motion; picking¬† and sorting, and putting a stem here and turning another there, until every bloom and piece of foliage ‘felt’ right to my own peculiar sensibilities; my own perception, and understanding, of¬† how each¬† precious creation should be honoured.

And this is what came about:

first this;

Geranium and Hebe

Geranium and Hebe

then this;

Rose, Ivy and Hebe

Rose, Ivy and Hebe

and, finally, this.

Heuchera, Hebe  and Catmint

Heuchera, Hebe and Catmint

Then, with the vases set before me, I sat for a while and enjoyed delightful moments of ‘squee’ at the incredible, intricate gorgeousness of the petals¬† and leaves. And, THAT, if we are to believe (and I do)¬†¬† The Botany of Desire , by Michael Pollan, is most likely what the flowers and plants want me to do; squee!!! These flowers, this foliage, are designed, and created, to appeal to the same nurturing part of every individual¬† that makes us love puppies and kittens and babies, and, maybe, bees with their sweet, good honey. Something in the plant’s genetic code¬† reaches out to ours, and, if we are willing and open to persuasion, it allows us to work together¬† on a beautiful, mutually beneficial arrangement.¬† For, in this modern age, our lives are impossible, one without the other. Or, so I believe ūüôā

© silkannthreades

Bee Wilderness

I am bee-ing uncharacteristically envious. My blogging friend¬† Ruth,¬† who reflects on life in central Christchurch, is now a host parent¬† to 20,000 bees. She is part of a “buzzy movement” to bring¬† bees into the city’s¬† green spaces and gardens, as well as onto the city ‘s roof spaces. I am envious because I would love to host a hive but, sadly,¬† most of my neighbours wouldn’t love me if I were to become a host family.¬† ( I can hear the complaints about bee droppings on their washing¬† before I even finish this thought in my head ūüė¶ )

Sigh! But, even though a hive would be a difficulty, I do have a flourishing bee population in my garden, anyway. This is mainly because, this year, I have left the plantings, in my raised garden beds, to run to wilderness.

The Wilderness

The Wilderness

I was about to replant the beds with orderly rows of vegetables when I realised that, by doing so, I would be removing a vital food supply, and haven, for the  bees and  little birds. I reasoned that it was easier for me to find an  alternative supply of vegetables than it was for the small ones to find sustenance elsewhere. So the wilderness of overgrown parsley,

Parsley Paradise

Parsley Paradise

leeks, sage and self-sown borage

Self-sown Borage

Self-sown Borage

and  cerinthe remained.

Cerinthe, sweet as honey..

Cerinthe, sweet as honey..

My reward….no honey… but the¬† bee chorus¬† is so humming that I can hear it from at least a metre’s distance.¬† The wild growth in¬† the planter boxes is supplemented, in the background, by the prolific flowering of my¬† ceanothus¬†¬† blue sapphire . They are a-shimmer with bee activity, although you would hardly think so, since I have only managed to capture one of their number!

Ruth’s bees may travel up to five kilometres to gather food. I wonder if I am close enough for any of them to visit me. Wouldn’t that be lovely if they did?¬† Meanwhile Jack and I enjoy the bees that are already here.

Jack bee-listening

Jack bee-listening

© silkannthreades

It’s strange what comes out…..

My first peony of the season is blooming. In a few days’ time I expect to have a minimum of¬† ¬†two peony blooms , as I did on November 1st, last year. Dear Peony Plant, always so reliable, at least as far as seasonal timekeeping is concerned.

Welcome back Sweet Peony

Welcome back Sweet Peony

My peony’s heritage can be traced back to my¬† great aunt’s ¬† garden in Ashburton.¬† I was given the cutting/root from my great aunt’s peony¬† by her niece. I watched her take the cutting from¬† a plant that was covered in¬† beautiful white peonies. Yes, white!

I have had my “white” peony for nearly ten years now. It took a long time to establish itself but, in about its fifth year, it sent out its first tentative bloom. It was pale pink ūüôā And, each year since, the blooms have remained determinedly, and stubbornly, pink; indeed, each year, they seem to blush a slightly deeper shade of pink.

No matter the colour, pink or white, or any variation thereof, I love my peonies. Here is my collage that makes the most of today’s one precious bloom.

Making the most of one sweet peony

Making the most of one sweet peony

In 2011, ( the latest figures I could find ), New Zealand exported 800,000 peony flower stems. Most went to Hong Kong, Malaysia, Taiwan and Japan. 35% of the blooms went to the United States.¬† Peonies made up only 3% of New Zealand’s flower exports. Apparently,¬† orchids are our top floral export. These are heady figures.

Perhaps, there is a New Zealand peony near you, right now, in a bouquet or vase, or waiting for you to gently choose it from a display on a flower stall; to gently sense, within its silken honey-dewed petals,¬† the essence of our southern spring.¬† Will¬† you sense that our spring is strangely warm….28 degrees celsius today?

© silkannthreades

The sweetness of lines that endure and endear

My newspaper tells me that, today, 15 October, is Virgil’s birthday. He was born in 70 BC. To quote from http://www.poetryfoundation.org/bio/virgil¬†Publius Vergilius Maro was a classical Roman poet, best known for three major works‚ÄĒthe Bucolics (or Eclogues), the Georgics, and the Aeneid‚ÄĒalthough several minor poems are also attributed to him. The son of a farmer in northern Italy, Virgil came to be regarded as one of Rome’s greatest poets; his Aeneid as Rome’s national epic.”

My¬† poetry book “Poem for the Day”, edited by Nicholas Albery,¬† tells me that, today, 15 October, is the day that English poet Robert Herrick died in 1674.¬† Robert Herrick was well-versed ( yes well-versed !) in the ancient authors, and like Virgil, many of his poems are pastoral or bucolic.¬† He also believed that he would¬† “triumph over ‚ÄúTimes trans-shifting‚ÄĚ and live beyond death through his verses” http://www.poetryfoundation.org/bio/robert-herrick

One of Herrick’s poems which lives on is Delight in Disorder

A sweet disorder in the dress
Kindles in clothes a wantonness:
A lawn* about the shoulders thrown
Into a fine distraction:
An erring lace which here and there
Enthralls the crimson stomacher:
A cuff neglectful, and thereby
Ribbons to flow confusedly:
A winning wave, deserving note,
In the tempestuous petticoat:
A careless shoe-string, in whose tie
I see a wild civility:
Do more bewitch me than when art
Is too precise in every part.
 
(* a lawn is a light scarf)
 
 
 
I think this poem is delightful. It reminds me, for the lace and the
 
petticoats, rather than any disorder, of my favourite portrait paintings by Ingres.

It  also takes me to the abundant and gorgeous

 
disarray of my garden.
 
This morning, I found the lily of the valley, like ‘erring lace’, here
 
and there, threaded through the flowers and greenery along the garden
 
path.
 
Lily of the Valley is another of my favourite plants.
 
It was my maternal grandmother’s favourite flower, and the Lily of the
 
Valley in my garden was given to me by her eldest daughter, my aunt.
Like erring lace

Like erring lace

I look forward to its appearance, every year, in early October, and ,more often than not, it arrives in time to help me¬† celebrate the October birthdays of my aunt and my grandmother ūüôā¬† Clever little plants!

Another poet, sometimes pastoral,  is Eleanor Farjeon, most widely known for her poem/hymn, A Morning Song, Morning Has Broken.

In 1965, the year of¬† Eleanor Farjeon’s¬† death, a friend of my paternal grandmother gave me¬† Farjeon’s “The Children’s Bells”, ( first¬† published in 1957 ). It is a book of verse for children but contains this small poem, titled Sweet Robin Herrick (born 20 August 1591).¬† Although some of Herrick’s poems have a wantonness that¬† might be considered inappropriate for a child, Eleanor Farjeon obviously thought¬† him too important a poet to leave out from a child’s literary education!

This day Robin Herrick

Was born in Cheapside,

His father he laughed

And his mother she cried,

So to sweet Robin Herrick

‘Twas given to spy The tear in the marigold’s Laughing eye.”

I have no marigolds at this time of year, so the best I can do, to  perpetuate  this  enduring and wonderful  poetic lineage, is  to show some photos of  the wayward, wanton disorderly  poesie of my garden

Floral Notes: Lily of the Valley symbolises the return of happiness. It is the national flower of Finland and the flower of May in the Northern Hemisphere. And its delicate scent makes it a lovely addition to a small floral bouquet on my kitchen window sill. (It was also in Kate Middleton’s wedding bouquet ūüôā )

© silkannthreades

A sweet disorder in the dresse Kindles in cloathes a wantonnesse: – See more at: http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/19791#sthash.zCCuwSq6.dpuf
A sweet disorder in the dresse Kindles in cloathes a wantonnesse: A Lawne about the shoulders thrown Into a fine distraction: An erring Lace, which here and there Enthralls the Crimson Stomacher: A Cuffe neglectfull, and thereby Ribbands to flow confusedly: A winning wave (deserving Note) In the tempestuous petticote: A careless shooe-string, in whose tye I see a wilde civility: Doe more bewitch me, then when Art Is too precise in every part. – See more at: http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/19791#sthash.zCCuwSq6.dpuf
A sweet disorder in the dresse Kindles in cloathes a wantonnesse: A Lawne about the shoulders thrown Into a fine distraction: An erring Lace, which here and there Enthralls the Crimson Stomacher: A Cuffe neglectfull, and thereby Ribbands to flow confusedly: A winning wave (deserving Note) In the tempestuous petticote: A careless shooe-string, in whose tye I see a wilde civility: Doe more bewitch me, then when Art Is too precise in every part. – See more at: http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/19791#sthash.zCCuwSq6.dpuf
A sweet disorder in the dresse Kindles in cloathes a wantonnesse: A Lawne about the shoulders thrown Into a fine distraction: An erring Lace, which here and there Enthralls the Crimson Stomacher: A Cuffe neglectfull, and thereby Ribbands to flow confusedly: A winning wave (deserving Note) In the tempestuous petticote: A careless shooe-string, in whose tye I see a wilde civility: Doe more bewitch me, then when Art Is too precise in every part. – See more at: http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/19791#sthash.zCCuwSq6.dpuf

Be still….and listen

My recent posts have been noisy and busy, by which I mean full of details and links and information. Today, I made a promise to myself to quiet my loud mind and try, try to be still with my thoughts and my post. (But it’s¬† hard to restrain myself; so hard…..)¬† Here goes; be still…….

I adore the work of Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres.

I adore the work of nature along my garden path.

Blue pathway

Blue pathway

And did I mention that I adore the paintings of¬† Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres; the rich fabric, the colours, textures, details, the sweet plumpness of the curves….. every moment my eyes linger on this painting of Madame Moitessier, I discover new delights…

And did I mention that I adore Nature’s Canvas too, with its myriad textures,

Details

Details of Ajuga the Bugleweed

soft folds, jewel-like colours, tiny, ever-surprising details and

and silken opulence.

Be still…… and listen; do you hear Spring singing in the garden? Can you see the music playing?

Still

Still

“When the chamber of the scarlet-clothed Hours is opened
And the nectareous flowers usher in the fragrant spring,
Then are scattered, then, on the immortal ground
The lovely petals of violets; roses are wound in our hair;
Loudly echo the voices of songs to the flutes,
And choirs step in procession to dark-ribboned Semele.[69]”

Pindar

© silkannthreades