MAY has crept in on a blue haze across the woodland. The bluebells, white wood anemones and wild garlic are underfoot by the time the maypole is danced.
When there are so many wildflowers bursting into colour, I tend to turn my back on the cultivated specimens which seem too self conscious by comparison.
This wave of blue, pink and acid green is the first act in the year’s performance.
And it is by weaving a wreath with this new life – the year’s first colours – that I paid tribute to our dear dad who died last month.
A garden is full of memories. There are shared experiences which run in the veins of an apple tree, say, or unruly mint patch.So it seemed right to use flowers and leaves which had meant something to him and to us.
I made a base of hazel, ivy and bluebells and added some snippets which featured in my childhood.
The wreath was studded with muscari I had once put in a pan and fed to my one-eyed panda bear, I included lilac for the scent my dad always loved and garden mint in homage to the patch which grew madly in the garden of my childhood.
I included the bright flowers of honesty and crowning the piece was some apple blossom for the little orchard we once had.
I remember climbing that tree with my dad and being stung by a ‘wisp, a wisp’.
It is raining gently when I collect all these flowers and it still patters on the potting shed windows while I tie the wreath.
It is quiet mediative work which pulls my fractured self into a kind of order, slowing my thoughts and soothing my nerves.
In the first few hours after his death, I found the only salve was the birdsong, the assurance there was still beauty in the world.
I notice now, a month on, that the muscari have completely gone over, the bluebells flattened by rain and the apple blossom has disappeared.
The next phase of flowering has begun, here are the first alliums and the new forms of phlomis and unfurling hostas .
It feels like time has slowed but there is no breaking a cycle in which the old makes way for the new.
It is the way of things, of course, that seems entirely relentless, but how else will the next wave of good things come?