Friday, September 5, 2008

Bloomin' Lovely!

I love flowers. Well, I'm sure you're thinking, don't most women? I'm guessing the answer to that question is probably, yes.
I came to realize the other day, just how closely my life is associated with flowers.
My mother was a florist, as was her mother, and her grandmother....yep, Mel broke the tradition that had been going for the previous three generations. Nice one!
My father was also an avid gardener and his father was a professional gardener.
In a couple of my previous jobs, I have dabbled in the world of 'smellies' I do believe some slack should be cut.

When I think of my life being connected with flowers though, I mean it seems that every time I harken back to my childhood, flowers, and trees too, play a big part of those memories.

Although I was never blown away with the tulip as a child...given the fact that like most gardens of that time, we had the usual yellow and red flowers planted here and there...not to any great effect really. I did always think that there was something quite magical about the way they looked inside, once those petals would start to open in the morning, it was like you were treated to a secret surprise they had been keeping all night. Then I visited Keukenhof Gardens in the Netherlands and was absolutely gobsmacked at seeing these flowers en that's something to google sometime....Kuekenhof!!!
It looks like mother nature kicked off the top of a paint box to reveal the most stunning colours and then she painted them into the most amazing patterns. Must return there...soon.

As a little girl I always loved the look of the sweet pea flowers in our garden, I loved their beautiful colours and how delicate they looked. There is just something, well, sweet about them. They look innocent and have this intoxicating fragrance, and the way their tendrils would wrap around things always fascinated me, like a long skinny finger reaching out to be held.
Near to where the sweet peas grew, I had my own little garden which basically consisted on mint, which of course was added to potatoes being cooked by either my mother or grandmother. We had a big vegetable garden and lots of fruit trees too, and an array of flowers that wrapped around the house in flower beds, as well as various other trees throughout the property. A rose garden complete with tiny signs that my father painted indicating each variety of rose, the rose garden really smelled lovely.

Many of my summer days, I would sit alone of my front steps and admire the magnificent and complex flowers on our massive peony bush. The huge flowers were a beautiful magenta colour and I always thought how cool they looked, from before they bloomed, and were in this tight ball shaped bud to when they were fully opened to reveal layer after layer of petals, rather spectacular.
Then I would turn my attention to the lovely little strawberries dangling from the wild strawberry plant that was in a container on the corner of the steps. Pick and eat the ripe ones and calculate how many days until the next few would be ready.
I then wander around to the money plant and pull off a few 'silver dollars', I would try to pull them apart to have a closer look at the seeds inside.

Often when my grandparents visited, my nan would ask me and my brother to go and fetch some conkers from the ground so she could show us how to play one of her favourite childhood games. This is the same nan, that would also pay my brother and I a quarter to pick a bucket full of dandelion flowers, so she could make wine with it...thanks for introducing us to the world of alcohol!! ;-)
They had a big field next to their house and that's where you could find us....making 'two-bit's per bucket...I'd say we were slightly underpaid!!!
Should've started a union!!

Every fall I would highly I still do to this day...the changing colour of the leaves. This has always been my favourite time of the year, maybe in part...(and I'm just thinking of this as I type)...because the colour is so bold and in your face, and unlike the bright summer flowers, where the colour is usually close to the ground, trees have the height advantage to really show off their stuff.
There is something quite cozy and cocooning about being surrounded by those colours, it just makes me feel warm and good.

Winter would roll around and the big holly tree that we had was visible through our front living room window and when it was covered in snow, with it's red berry accents poking through, well it was a sight to behold.
There would be great excitement when the first snow drop showed itself and we always had tiny vases in the house filled with snowdrops and bluebells as a preview of what colour would soon be heading our way.

My mum would also will spring on by cutting a few branches of any of our blossoming trees as soon as there was a sign of a bud on them. Just the bare branches in a vase was a lovely visual, but the blossoms would show up soon and remind us, that indeed warmer weather was coming.

I would also spend alot of my time sitting up high in one of our three horse- chestnut trees, sometimes I would write poetry, sometimes I would escape from my father when he was in a 'mood' and sometimes I would just sit up there and think. No one knew I was there so it was my secret little hideaway.

So it does seem that there are few childhood memories that don't include some kind of association with flowers and trees....I guess I really could say that my childhood was, well, bloomin lovely!