Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Take one bucket…

…and a pair of secateurs and get snipping! This bucket is only half full, but just looking at what’s inside makes me smile.

One of the great things about tree blossom is that it is so abundant, you can cut a few branches, enough to fill a jug with blossom, but it will barely make a dent when you look at the still flower-filled tree afterwards.

Jekka McVicar encourages the use of dandelions for medicinal and culinary purposes, but I’m sorry, I can’t get over their bright obtrusiveness wherever they appear! And also the guilt they evoke – I know they are there because we’ve been too busy or lazy to weed properly. Daisies, however, I have always liked. Indeed, when I started this blog, I was going to call it Daisy Shamini; Daisy being the middle name that I wanted as a young child. On Sarah Raven’s blog, Garlic and Sapphire, there’s a lovely post about writer Emma’s nature hunt with her young daughter, and daisies were first on the list.

Along with the dandelions, we do have a lot of bluebells that the wind has scattered our way – but their presence is more welcome. Partly because of their swaying, slender stems with pretty blue-violet flowers, and partly because of Nineteen Eighty-Four. Unfortunately, we don’t have English bluebells; just the Spanish-English hybrid, Hyacinthoides x massartiana. In my dream garden, I would have an English bluebell patch under blossom trees, and I would sit amongst them, pick them and smell them, as Winston did.

The bucket of flowers, along with a couple of stems of pale pink cherry blossom from the tree at the front of the house, was enough to fill two jugs and four mini milk bottles. I especially like the small jug, with a Mount Tacoma and an Angelique peony tulip, quince and apple blossom, and bluebells. Quince blossom is long lasting in water, so it’s a good shrub for cutting. Apple blossom lasts a few days, but it’s worth cutting for the pink-edged flowers and the delicate scent.

Quince blossom represents temptation…I’m not sure what to make of that, other than it’s tempting to cut it because it looks so pure and white! Apple blossom symbolises better things to come, which feels to me like a glass half full response to cherry blossom’s ‘impermanence’. The first photo below is our quince blossom. The second is next door's apple blossom tree, much bigger than ours, but of course I didn't cut theirs. 'Temptation' is certainly what I felt when I looked at it!

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