I always say that early spring is schizo around here – all colour and no green. Bleached by winter cold and drought, grasses are blonde and trees are grey. Suddenly colour arrives like a rash on the first azaleas: one looks at it in fascination and surprise. Of course the first blossoms on the trees are magnificent, and of course – almost grudgingly - I get pleasure from those first azaleas, but it is only a few weeks later when the many trees start pushing young leaves that spring becomes overwhelmingly beautiful to me!
The pictures above – a view and two details – I took yesterday from the veranda of the big house. As I’ve been living there since early September rather than in my own house due to my mom’s health, I’ve been able to observe the daily – make that hourly as the light shifts! – changes that make this view so rewarding. Here for instance is a view on the 13th, when suddenly the afternoon backlighting caught the young leaves on the first of the oaks to green up. It gives some idea of how much changes in two weeks!
The view from my house has been the subject of a few shots too: I do get to take the occasional walk, and my dogs sleep at home and so get let out every morning at ‘photo time’! This is the one month in the year when I consider giving the bridge a fresh wash of white – surrounded as it is by flowering cherries and almonds, azaleas and Viburnum plicatum, it seems a little drab. For the rest of the year I like its ‘dull white’ look.
Here is another shot of the icon of my garden, taken a few days earlier from my front door. The bowl of scented freesias stands on the stone plinth in line with the bay window. In our sheltered valley reflections are often near perfect.
This early morning view shows the quality of the reflection and the greening of the trees across from my home; the centre of the view from my big bay winow is in line with the left edge of the photo.
To continue the theme of greening (or in this case reddening – or wining?), this opposite view from the above one, taken nine days earlier, shows the first silvery brown leaves on the Acer palmatum atropurpureum. The grass of the meadow which only days before waved between the house and the water, has been cut and the dogwood (Cornus florida) in the right foreground is flowering properly for the first time this year. I grew it from seed off my own trees!
To end off, a view up from Alfred’s Arches to the big house. One morning one wakes up to a garden that is no longer wintery; Erigeron karvinskianus with its white daisy flowers from pink buds self-seeds most beautifully all around my garden and contributes hugely to the blowsy, accidental overlay of the formality which I so love. Down the steps to meet me comes Doubly, the Border Collie.