Wednesday, 6 April 2011

It's a beautiful day...



... and the garden is blooming. I love the splash of lime green from the euphorbias (or is it euphorbium?), in the bed beneath the gloriously creamy magnolia.
Thinking of Elspeth, and remembering all the beautiful flowers she cherished in the spring. Maybe it's the memory of Elspeth that has also sent me in search of Emily Dickinson again; elusive, as always...

Absent Place—an April Day—
Daffodils a-blow
Homesick curiosity
To the Souls that snow—

Drift may block within it
Deeper than without—
Daffodil delight but
Him it duplicate—

13 comments:

Stephen Pope said...

Yes, it's definitely an Elspeth time of year - even the weather this anniversary week seems like it's gearing up to echo the warmth and the light intensity of the day of her send off.

The local landscape Elspeth chronicled so beautifully has been changing rather dramatically in the last year, as a huge earth-moving project to allow tidal water into the nature reserve pastures in front of her railway carriages is nearing completion. The grassy topsoil has now been scooped away from hundreds of acres to return the newly exposed shingle 'desert' closer to the state it must have been in before the second world war (a richer habitat for birds [avocets!], flowers and insects too). Currently it more resembles the FIRST world war, the Somme specifically, but I guess it will naturalise soon enough. It would have made fertile material (literally as well as figuratively) for her wonderful blog...

'Euphorbias' is indeed the plural of those creamy spurges in your photo, Justine ('euphorbium' sounds like something Pete Postlethwaite would have conducted in Brassed Off). Take care with the latex-like sap if you ever cut any stems, though - it's practically corrosive and must have sent a few careless horticulturalists to eye hospital in its time!

kairu said...

The weather here has been gloomy, mostly, but the daffodils are out in waves, the cherry-blossoms scattering in the breeze like soft pink snow. I thought of Elspeth often, this past fall and winter, when the paperwhites I planted in glass vases shot up suddenly in the night and burst into bloom. I staggered the plantings in waves, the way Elspeth suggested, on pebbles gathered during childhood beach walks, and the flowers bloomed all winter long.

But now it's spring, and daffodil time, and Emily Dickinson time, though the poet I most often associated with you and Elspeth is Mary Oliver, most particularly 'In Blackwater Woods.'

Justine Picardie said...

Yes, you're right: In Blackwater Woods is very much associated in my mind with my sister, and with Elspeth. It's a poem that Ruth discovered during her last months -- a friend of my mother's sent it to her in a letter -- and then it winged on to others, as the best poems do. Despite the blue skies, today and yesterday, I'm also finding myself in blackwater woods again...

enid said...

remember e e cummings

in Just-
spring when the world is mud-
luscious the little
lame balloonman

whistles far and wee

and eddieandbill come
running from marbles and
piracies and it's
spring
when the world is puddle-wonderful

Justine Picardie said...

Lovely poem! Thank you...

kairu said...

I love the e. e. cummings poem, enid, and Justine, that top photo of magnolias in bloom is beautiful!

The weather here is dreadful, and I am just back from getting tested for vertigo, feeling a bit like a hamster stuffed into a beach ball and then tossed around a bit...but the flowers outside the clinic were gorgeous, sunny yellow daffodils and dark purple hyacinths and even fragile little bleeding-hearts...they brighten the gloomiest of gray days.

Young at Heart said...

how lovely....am inspired to reach for the poetry book too.....how quickly i forget they're there and leave them, dust heavy, un-read....

Justine Picardie said...

Thanks for comments. Vertigo seems to me to be a very sane response to an unbalanced world. I had it a few years ago, as an after effect from concussion -- really disorientating at the time, so I do hope it passes soon... sending you all good wishes from London.

Karen, Surrey said...

I too followed Elspeth's blog and do miss her horticultural updates, and the insight into her wonderfully alternative style of living. I never actually knew her but I do miss checking into her gentle blog.
My magnolia envy goes on. Yours is fantastic, ours put in about 18 months ago only had one bud this year probably due to the heavy snow we had. So I have bought another for the front garden! The Euphorbias are great too, I managed to get a bit from a friends garden and its spreading nicely. I try to garden for free, cuttings, spreading seeds, dividing etc but I did succumb again this year.

Justine Picardie said...

Good luck with the magnolia -- I think they take a while to get established. I was worried about mine in the heavy snow and ice of the winter, but it seems to have emerged unscathed -- though I've been sweeping up the petals from the ground today; they don't last long on the branches, and are dropping fast...

lelonnie_taylor said...

Hey! Not to be a nag or anything, but I did email you my questions a few weeks ago and haven't heard back from you...
P.S. I finally received If The Spirit Moves You, and began reading it.
Hope to hear from you soon!
-Lelonnie

Justine Picardie said...

Just emailed them to you... sorry for delay!

Brooke said...

Hi Justine,

I'm a Casting Director based out of NY, working on a fashion-centric show that will be airing in the US. We're researching a fascinating Chanel story and I'd love to talk to you. I'll keep this note short, but I'm happy to download you in full.

Best,
Brooke
Brooke.Balick@leftfieldpictures.com