I would rather have a mind opened by wonder than one closed by belief - Gerry Spence
"Fold your arms round me close and strain me so that our hearts may break and our souls go free at last. Take me to that happy place of which you told me long ago. The fields whence none return, but where great singers sing their song forever."
Joseph Bedier, The Romance of Tristan and Iseult
One of the ancient remedies for treatment of respiratory disorders disguised as a little sun. The bright yellow flowers of coltsfoot appear early spring literally out of nowhere, especially if that nowhere looks like damp roadsides, ditches, forgotten construction sites and other disturbed places. To colonise such locations it requires a lot determination and wit. Coughwort (another common name of the plant) possess both of them as it spreads by underground rhizomes and seeds. The clever side of the expansion lies in the fact that its flowers appear first and when they fade away the leaves emerge. Hardly anyone sees the connection between the two stages. Seeing the healthy leaves we are looking forward to flowers, which... never happens. Slightly disappointed we leave them alone and forget, the outcome Tussilago is really very happy about.
Do not go to the garden of flowers!
O Friend! go not there;
In your body is the garden of flowers.
Take your seat on the thousand petals of the lotus, and there
gaze on the Infinite Beauty.
A yellow flower
(Light and spirit)
Sings by itself
A golden spirit
(Light and emptiness)
Sings without a word
Let no one touch this gentle sun
In whose dark eye
Someone is awake.
(No light, no gold, no name, no colour
And no thought:
O, wide awake!)
A golden heaven
Sings by itself
A song for nobody.
A helpless question. First frost bites are merciless and do not leave room for any hope. When you see your beloved dahlias without life, anger is usually the instant reaction although we were prepared for such an unsightly sight. Suddenly, the perspective of long dreary winter months becomes almost tangible. On the other hand, the idea of perpetual repetition of life-cycles seems incredible, hence childish indignation. But poor dahlias can help here. Their tuberous roots need to be dug up and this very physical activity forces us to concentrate on more down -to -earth thoughts and actions. I am positive that not only dahlias can give us a helping hand and save a lot of energy we might squander on depressing divagations like...the idea of passing. I know, I know, it is all unavoidable. OK, I understand, but before I accept it, I want to deceive myself and enjoy the last happy moments when the world looked definitely more colourful, however vulnerable. Just before the unwelcome thrusts of inevitable and ruthlessly cold nights. Why not accompany me?
Foxglove - a funny name for a plant, isn't it? However, its Latin equivalent- Digitalis purpurea- implies murky fingers, and dark red ones. Fortunately, it does not say a word about how much toxic they are. Leaves of foxglove plants contain potent chemicals used in pharmacy to prepare medicine helpful to control the heart rate. Of course, no-one can do it on their own by simply eating the leaves, it is too dangerous (by the way, they must taste awful). But everyone can and should have several foxglove plants in their garden to admire the tall stalks adored with hanging tubular flowers looking like thimbles. Their colour vary from pure white to pink and purple hues. And the "throat" of each thimble can be nicely spotted like the skin of an exotic reptile. Foxglove flowers open in late May, June, July and continue flowering until August (depending on the geographical region). What a shame they last one season and are gone. But the numerous seeds produced in capsules make it sure that new foxgloves will germinate the next spring. The trick is, we have to wait for the seedlings to bloom another long year.
Luminous pink tones of soft flower foam: soapwort or -less elegantly- soapweed. It grows almost everywhere except for...gardens where it can be tolerated but hardly appreciated. Its Latin name Saponaria alludes to soap. Why? The answer lies in the roots and leaves of this fresh-looking plant. They contain saponin, a chemical substance which produces a frothy mass of bubbles when mixed with water. And that foam is known for its friendly cleansing properties because it does not irritate the skin, even the very delicate one. Being so advantageous I am sure it is about time soapwort became regarded as an ornamental plant and not as a weed. Well, let us start with "an ornamental weed" , shall we?
Late afternoon, the sun is still hot but not as much as a few hours earlier. Time for a walk across the nearby meadows. The first breeze wafts gentle aromas whose origin is quite a mystery. Where do they come from? Can that tiny inconspicuous flowers be so potent to fill the air with such strong but delicate fragrance? The answer seems to be obvious.
Green meadows. Not only green, though. Omnipresent little wild flowers reflect the whole spectrum of light. Simple beauty in its prime. Do relish the view for it will be gone soon. Just like in the melancholy aria -reminder Ruggiero sings in Handel's "Alcina", bidding farewell to his beloved green meadows and shady forests: "one day you will lose all your beauty". So true, so sad and so implausible.
I was destined to be born gardener. In order to become a professional one I had to enjoy years of studying at various schools and universities... read more