I sometimes wonder if I left my heart in Australia when I moved back to the UK. Don’t get me wrong, I love my country of birth and wouldn’t want to leave it for now. But, (incredibly) some six and a half years on, Australia is still present, still there, still with me deep inside, on a day to day basis.
This year has not been an easy one. Covid, and long Covid, have taken it out of me. It’s been all I can do to get through essential tasks each day and activities such as blogging have been continually deferred.
Gardening, fortunately, hasn’t, and although patchy, I’ve treated it as the best possible remedy; to be taken at the very highest dosage whenever feasibly possible.
And what has got me here, finally writing, after a steady improvement in my energy levels over the last few weeks, was reading two articles today, both describing the joy of spring arriving, in Victoria and Tasmania.
Ah, yes. Spring. That’s where I’m up to with my blog. And feeling inspired, knowing it’s beginning to unfold on the other side of the world, I picked up my ‘pen’.
It’s funny looking back after all these months. On a day of 29 degrees, seeing photos of frost and bare trees. Another world away. But spring is a season that is easy to stir up emotions in me.
It’s my favourite season of all. Not too hot, not too cold, just right. But even more so, it’s one of new beginnings, of hope, of freshness, of all to play for.
It’s also one that particularly suits our garden, I think. Like the Regency house that stands within it, it’s all of large proportions. Mature trees, sweeping lawns, and banks of bulbs that have naturalised by the thousands over the years.
I think I’d take a single perfect cherry tree in blossom over the most intricate herbaceous border. Whether a native species or not, it just looks so right, so majestic, yet so pretty in the morning light.
The whole of spring just seems to come from nowhere. It arrives by itself. I didn’t plant the daffodils or the trees, the forget-me-nots, greater celandine or red campion. They all just came.
If that’s not a magical happenstance, I’m not sure what is. I love the flowers I have now, in August, but they are very much planted, very much man-made. It’s not the same softness as spring.
And, of course, our garden is really just the incidental backdrop. The animals are the star of the show.
Spring is the time for new arrivals. Baby hares, or leverets, appear by the cedar of Lebanon, little bunnies play on the top lawn and beyond, there is a field full of skipping lambs. The deer are fighting it out for territory over the coming season, in anticipation of their late spring arrivals.
And when the highlights of flora and fauna coincide, it’s then that I know I really do love my current home.
Harry’s morning ablutions in a sea of cherry blossom as I leave to take Paul to the station.
Or Daryl knee deep in the rising meadow, under the shadow of the flowering horse chestnut.
Of course, we need the other seasons to make us appreciate this one so well.
But it’s interesting looking back on time here in my garden. To be reflecting upon an earlier period, not writing about today. It provides a different outlook and perspective.
And allows me to more clearly pinpoint the highlight of that time. The one that has most tenaciously stuck with me.
It was early May. I recall sitting on my bright pink mat, weeding the edge of the herbaceous bed in the orchard. At that time of year, everything is growing full pelt – warmth and moisture in the soil and air.
A good task for a weak body, gently sifting the wanted seedlings from the undesired. And as I sat on the lawn, looking to my left and my right, dainty English bluebells stood proud amongst the unmown grass, that perfect blue and perfect green.
It’s such a different experience, feeling yourself within the plants, rather than looking upon or at them. You feel as one with them, very much aware of sharing the viewpoint many of the garden’s residents experience each day.
And the world slows; there is nothing beyond the field of bluebells. Lost in time, lost in colour, lost in nature and her beauty.
How could I leave this garden now?
My heart is split. Or perhaps it’s duplicated.
Yes, I think that’s it.
I have one heart in Australia and one here in the UK.
How lucky that is, to have two.