Thanks to Lauren, our amazing Garden Project volunteer, for sending in her images and thoughts on blossom and Spring. We look forward to gardening with you again soon, Lauren.
Spring has me dumbfounded. Its colour, its scent, its longer light; its life. A change that’s so merrily welcome has been completely surrounded by changes that are unwelcome.
We look to blossom as a marker of change, one that reminds us that good (and bad) things pass, only to be followed by something even more glorious.
It’s a moment of transition, where the deepest/sweetest/most humble/most buttery colours announce themselves then slowly fade away, leaving behind a green for us.
From the second they arrive, then disappear, a new bloom arrives, then disappears, only to keep our breath short, our sighs heavy and our anticipation for heat and rays going and going.
Blossom has shown people the way for centuries. All the species that wax and wane have acted as maps for people without maps. As one orchard blooms and fruits in one place, another orchard is blossoming and directing us towards the next set of fruiting trees, hopping from a slightly different climate to another climate.
When I’m outside now, it’s only for bare minutes in the wild, never hours. That time has brought back old anxieties for me. Ones that say the outside isn’t safe and people are not safe, enough to make my heart pound a little louder and any encounter to block my speech. But I do have these moments, when I walk the same route along the River Pool, where I notice something has changed.
Maybe the comfrey is out, electrifying purple, so unnatural looking but humming with life.
I’m suddenly aware of how many species of Hawthorn are in this two-mile-patch, and that I can recognise their puzzle piece leaves and their tiny bouquets of flowers.
When I walk, I pick at things, as respectfully as I can of course, but I like to snip at the branches and the stems just as they’re budding or when they’re in full bloom. I try to focus on what I like, what plant has drawn me to it, what would I really love to sniff, and then I feel grateful for some sort of break from (what feels like) a chaos around me.
I take these home and I spend a while snipping this leaf off, cutting that stem as short and stout as suits the bowl or jar that I’m using that day or maybe I divide one branch into three branches and stick that in a bottle.
Just breathing in that simple pleasure for the rest of the day is a comfort that pays total respect to this blossom season that’s been smiling at us all through this bizarre Spring.
Lauren Goddard, May 2020