The afternoon is warm and still and the pink petals of the flowering cherry blossom drift silently and slowly down onto the flower beds beneath as if the thick, sultry air is just too tired to stir. In this atmosphere, the scent of the Gillyflowers rises and stays, and I breathe in its heady perfume as I pass the spring flowers.
Last Autumn, in rain so constant and drenching that gardening felt more like being at sea than on land I began cramming this little border with a potential kaleidoscope of Spring bedding and bulbs; Grape Hyacinths, Parrot Tulips, Narcissus, Gillyflowers (Wallflowers), Forget-me-nots, Bellis, Cowslips and fat-faced Pansies all get pushed in and jostle for space to grow. This was the planting which would re-create the magical Persian carpet effect of the flowers I remember from childhood; the flowers in my Grandma’s garden. Specially planted for colour and scent and and only deemed perfect for cutting when these blooms were just a day or so from their absolute best, she would pick a big bunch of these sunny and fragrant flowers for me to take to infants school. Over the years the memory of this border has become more vivid and the vivacity of the flowers, so saturated in colour, the scents so intense, that I have longed to revisit it.
And here it is now, in flower, with each bloom unfurling its petals in a sequence which spreads joy each time I pass by or see it from my kitchen window. But its beauty is mysteriously hard to capture with my camera. I try again and again, photographing the whole bed, the individual flowers and finally, a little bunch in a vase. There is true beauty here, but even with it all combined, it never competes with the memory of my Grandma’s garden.
And perhaps that is how it should be, so that those scents, colours and loveliness will never lose their intensity and magic but will stay perfect and glorious in my heart forever.