Spring at last

Spring flowers

Spring has well and truly arrived.  Birds are feverishly gathering moss for their nests, bees are getting drunk on blossom nectar and daffodils are lighting the roadside verges with sunshine.  I have been getting out with my camera as much as I can rather than spending time indoors at my desk and I am very behind with blogging and replying to comments.  Please bear with me – spring fever will wear off eventually.  In the meantime, this is the first of a series of short posts celebrating the arrival of this most hopeful of seasons.

I know this poem has become cliché, but really it is so beautiful I can’t think of any reason not to enjoy it again, and again.

Daffodils
I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed–and gazed–but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

–  William Wordsworth

 

Flowers in the Rain

geraniums

Woke up one morning half asleep
With all my blankets in a heap
And yellow roses scattered all around
The time was still approaching
For I couldn’t stand it anymore
Some marigolds upon my eiderdown

I’m just sitting watching flowers in the rain
Feel the power of the rain making the garden grow
I’m just sitting watching flowers in the rain
Feel the power of the rain keeping me good

So I lay upon my side
With all the windows open wide
Couldn’t pressurize my head from speaking
Hoping not to make a sound
I pushed my bed into the ground
In time to catch the sight that I was seeking

I’m just sitting watching flowers in the rain
Feel the power of the rain making the garden grow
I’m just sitting watching flowers in the rain
Feel the power of the rain keeping me good

If this perfect pleasure has to be
Then this is paradise to me
If my pillow’s getting wet
I can’t see that it matters much to me
I heard the flowers in the trees
Make conversation with the trees
Relieved to leave reality behind me
With my commitments in a mess
My sleep is not a way of rest
In a world of fantasy you’ll find me

I’m just sitting watching flowers in the rain
Feel the power of the rain making the garden grow
I’m just sitting watching flowers in the rain
Feel the power of the rain keeping me good

Watching flowers in the rain
Flower in the rain
Power flowers in the rain
Flower power in the rain

Roy Wood Flowers In The Rain (1967)

It was all yellow

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Look at the stars
Look how they shine for you
And everything you do
Yeah, they were all yellow

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I came along
I wrote a song for you
And all the things you do
And it was called ‘Yellow’

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So then I took my time
Oh what a thing to’ve done
And it was all yellow

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Your skin, oh yeah, your skin and bones
Turn into something beautiful
D’you know? You know I love you so
You know I love you so

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I swam across
I jumped across for you
Oh what a thing to do
‘Cause you were all yellow

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I drew a line
I drew a line for you
Oh what a thing to do
And it was all yellow

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Your skin, oh yeah, your skin and bones
Turn into something beautiful
D’you know? For you I bleed myself dry
For you I bleed myself dry

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It’s true
Look how they shine for you
Look how they shine…

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Look at the stars
Look how they shine for you
And all the things that you do.
(Coldplay, ‘Yellow’)

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The infinite sphere

Blaise Pascal (1623-1662) wrote: “Nature is an infinite sphere of which the centre is everywhere and the circumference nowhere”. We encounter nature daily; we can hardly avoid it, even if it is only in the form of a humble fly who crawls through our open window or the scent of distant park flowers on the breeze.

flying bee
Taking time to notice nature enriches my day beyond measure. The more I look, the more I see. Have you ever taken the time to watch a honey bee? I mean for several minutes or more. Watch how the light glistens in its wings as it hovers before its chosen blossom, forelegs outstretched for a gentle landing.

bee flying towards fennel flowers

Notice how the evening light catches the soft hairs on its back, and its eager tongue, already prepared as if it cannot wait to savour the sweet nectar.

bumble bee approaching dahlia flower

Or how about the bustling bumble bee? It announces its approach with an bombastic buzz before blundering onto its pollen-heavy landing pad.

bumble bee and dahlia


A smaller bumble comes careening in; too busy to linger, it is gone almost before the shutter can click, a momentary sway of the flowerhead the only sign of its passing.

bumble bee and dahlia

It has become a cliche to speak of mindfulness, or living in the moment. I don’t know if our lives are busier now than they were a generation ago, or a century ago but, for me, a full life must still contain moments when all its demands are put to one side. Photography has opened my eyes to daily treasures. And the digital age has added the joy of sharing them.

Sometimes, however, it is also good to put the camera down and simply look, listen, smell, taste, touch. That’s all; I am going outside now.

“If we take care of the moments, the years will take care of themselves.” Maria Edgeworth (1767-1849)

The best tree

flowersThese lovely flowers belong to the best thing in my garden, a thirty foot eucryphia tree. It is columnar, with a semi-weeping habit, and evergreen. So already it earns its place as a good garden tree. But, as if that weren’t enough, every July/August, it bursts forth in a froth of large white blooms, with pretty pink anthers, and a sweet scent.

And, best of all, the honey bees love it. In fact, the children call it ‘bee tower’. The garden thrums with the sound of happy bees.



Eucryphia pollen is very fine indeed, little more than dust. The bees look as if they have been sugar frosted as they go about their business.


At times, they are almost frenetic, as if frantic to collect and preserve this bounty while it lasts.


I can claim no gardening credit for this tree – it was here when we moved in ten years ago. I am told they are difficult to establish and fussy in their needs but this one seems to be happy with benign neglect. Long may it last.
Do you have a favourite insect-friendly garden plant/tree?