The Autumnal

No spring nor summer beauty hath such grace as I have seen in one autumnal face

John Donne

It is the time of the autumn equinox, or Mabon. A time when summer and all of its bounties are coming to an end. The fields are almost empty. Crops have been harvested and stored for the coming winter. Mabon is the mid-harvest festival, and it is when we take a few moments to honor the changing seasons, and celebrate the second harvest. On or around September 21-23rd, it is a time of giving thanks for the things we have, whether it is abundant crops or other emotional or material blessings. It’s a time of plenty, of gratitude, and for a short period, a time when there are equal amounts of daylight and dark. The world is in equilibrium.

This year I have failed spectacularly to make bramble jelly with fruits from the hedgerow, or scrump for apples or collect conkers with the boys. There is still time I guess, for a last minute Autumnal pursuit, but in my head at least I have sought comfort from these Hygge inducing activities.

This year however, there are other priorities!

Here in Scotland, at least the warmth is behind us and cold lies ahead. Time for growers like myself to snuggle in front of the fire with seed catalogues to plan and prepare for the following spring. A tartan throw, a steaming mug of tea and a slice of orange and polenta cake with the soothing sounds of Monty Don on Gardeners World in the background is the ideal way to spend a Friday evening. However, I know that I will be elbow deep in nettles preparing my small patch for the 1000 or so Tulips which are about to grace my doorstep any day soon.

Hard work aside, Autumn is a time rich in magic and I for one will take the opportunity to look up from my unruly square of soil from time to time to drink it all in.


Honeysuckle Rose

A first Blog post is not an easy thing to write, although I have promised myself that its something, over which I will not agonise. My aim is to speak from the heart when I have something to say, however, as my chosen art is largely visual I intend to allow the images to speak for themselves. By way of introduction however, it would be rude not to tell you a little bit about myself…

My love of flowers, as opposed to Floristry, began as a child. In the 1970’s the world seemed to be brown and beige, nylon and polyester, swirly patterned carpets and eye wateringly loud wallpaper. It was all ‘Tomorrow’s World’ but even then I longed for ‘The Good Life’. Somewhere that this relaxed and simple atmosphere was afforded me was in the home of my grandparents. Humble and hardworking people they took the time to enjoy weekends and rare days off in the garden and kitchen adding colour and richness to life. In each of these environs I feel at home to this day.

I baked cakes, cooked roasts, boiled jams and stewed labour intensive chutney’s with my gran, often participating, but sometimes merely observing. Whilst in the back garden and homemade greenhouse I helped my grandfather water tomatoes and plant leeks. It was to the small front garden however, which I was drawn most intently. A bare patch of concrete and earth for a large portion of the year, it burst into flame in the spring and summer with Begonias exploding out of every kind of vessel imaginable. Snap Dragons harboured delicious pollen and small, furry bees dipped in and out of their gaping mouths to gather the magical yellow dust. Chrysanthemums standing tall and proud having been meticulously staked while the vigorous Sweet Peas by the side gate commanded lengths of stout twine to keep them in check.

It sounds idyllic, if not a little romanticised, but that’s how I want to remember it and those memories, rose-tinted or otherwise have inspired and guided me through the crunchy and the smooth to doing what I love today.

I should conclude perhaps by explaining the title of this post…

My grandfather was a lover of Jazz, particularly Ella and Basie. Honeysuckle Rose will remind me of him always.