I was in Italy this week for my friend Laure's 50th birthday. There were some lavender bushes ablaze with insects, one of which is a mystery to me with it's long pollen sucker.
I was in Barvaria recently visiting my friends Paola and Angskar. It was a relief to see that somewhere in Europe there are plentiful forests. And to see lupins growing wild on the side of the road was a joy. In the village of Salz there is a commitment to always having a lime tree to commemorate some 17th Century battle and this one is held up by an enormous solid oak scaffold. Lastly I like this picture of the moon above Nurenburg airport surviving the fumes and vapour trails.
Sometimes the delicate vulnerability of nature is heart breaking. A Duck foetus and a baby Starling both victims of nearby magpie colonies, an old campion flower, a Bellflower and a beetle struggling to fly that landed in some grass near my feet.
The world is waking up and the inner life of things is shimmering- mating frogs, the rude trumpets of daffodils, Hellebore flowers, lovers forever entwined off St James Street and a hen just having laid an egg. Spring is on the move. As Keith Grahame wrote in 'The Wind in the Willows' - “Spring was moving in the air above and in the earth below and around him (Mole), penetrating even his dark and lowly little house with its spirit of divine discontent and longing.”
We visited our friend's farm last weekend. A farm is also a garden, where the strong functionality of the different spaces creates a vibrant beauty so different from a garden that often can strive too hard to look beautiful. A good example of this is the farmer lets the moles be as "apart from turning up a few more weed seeds and sometimes interfering with the plough don't do any harm"
Nature sculptors chaos and weaves chemicals sucked from the mud of the earth into fabulous shapes. A garden design has a grand scheme but within it are countless details each in themselves an intelligent design.
Someone said to me recently how boring and drab winter is in England. Growing up in Australia I am always amazed at the way winter pares down the landscape in Sussex, throwing up new shapes that summer foliage obscures and casting the world in that crisp steel blue light. Warm blooded life seems that much more precious and winter spaces make me reflex how everything that is living will die - making life feel like its made of fragile spun glass. Below is the bright rude health of yellow Mahonia, flowering early this year, the rust patterns of a fire [...]
The last stunning colours of Autumn with the merry dancing leaves of a Liquidamber, an old oak that has still managed to hang on to its foliage and a sunset that only the Northern Hemisphere can provide as we tilt further away from the sun each day.
Even the humble red cabbage can provide inspiring lines and proportions