Voices In The Garden


Voices In The Garden

Today was a day of extraordinary beauty – following a period of rain so intense it was hard to see or hear clearly.

Given tomorrows dire weather forecast .. and beginning the day with my customary coffee – taken in happy, creative and introspective solitude .. I plotted a day, spent entirely outside.


..and the sky agrees.

Not for a decade or more has there been such a memorable summer – and as Larglea’s garden is put to rest for the winter ahead I am reminded of all the people who have shared it, passed through it, and contributed to it …some of them without ever seeing it mature.


Here is the miniature climbing rose bought for me by my son before he left to live in Japan several years ago. It is taller than him now, and he has never seen it flower – which it does for all three months of the summer – and often, as this year, again in a warm autumn. It has an exquisite fragrance, out of all proportion to the size of the flowerheads. One day I hope he will visit with his new family and we will share the rose together.


The Asters (Michaelmas Daisies) put on their imperial purple display – an autumnal act, that’s so hard to follow – few flowering plants bother. Thank heaven I didn’t give in to the urge to name my daughter ‘Aster’.. I’m told she would never have forgiven me.


This rose – name unknown – was given by my sister – in whose Somerset garden it wilted, unnacountably. It’s a rose of a hue Ive never seen elsewhere – the colour of a fading venetian palazzo – fragile, though with large flowerheads. It thrives, as does everything else here, on the hummus-rich soil provided by the 150 yr old tree boundary. The rose always reminds me of my sister’s tenacity – and intelligence.


There are many voices to be heard in this garden..the wisteria planted in memory of a dear friend who died in her forties..the last potted christmas tree I gave my mother which is now 12 feet tall and covered in blue-grey pine-cones.. the buddliea that attracted so many butterflies – a friend’s small daughter was caught, open-mouthed in amazement, in a much-loved, hazy summer photograph of her first visit.

Echoes of the voices of those I have loved, and love, pass through here every time I brush past a plant, and when they put forth a new season of flower or growth.

In thanks for all the memories, and for those still to be made..

and to the late Dirk Bogarde for his title: Voices In The Garden.

He quotes:-

When the fire-fly hides its spot,
When the garden voices fail
In the darkness and the hot, –
Shall another voice avail,
That shape be where those are not?

Robert Browning
From ‘A serenade at the Villa”.


About largelyhelen

Designer, photographer, writer.
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