Wednesday, 30 September 2009

My newest favourite thing: spring flowers

I was filing some magazines yesterday, and putting them in chronological order – yes, I know… Anyway, they were dated seasonally, which threw me a bit because they were New Zealand magazines.

For me the year begins in spring (new beginnings and all that) and progresses through summer and autumn to finish with winter. Not so here. I presume it goes autumn; winter; spring; summer – which still feels odd. Things like this, after living here for 13 years remind me that I’m living abroad and am not home.

But whatever month of year in which they appear, I do love spring flowers. They promise fresh hope and renewal. The blossom on the trees suggests ripe fruit with connotations of blushing brides and birds and bees.

Spring, after all is the season of love. As Lord Alfred Tennyson wrote, ‘In the spring a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love.’ We got married in April (in the Northern Hemisphere) and my bouquet was a riot of spring blooms.

Every year my mum sends photos of what she calls her ‘scruffy garden’. Complete with hyacinths and forsythia they are quite gorgeous, and she never neglects to write and tell me when the crocuses are out. It’s some sort of earthly connection that we share, and although I hate gardening, I love the results.

I once whiled away a very pleasant afternoon sitting outside in the spring sunshine with my feet up on a cushion, reading a book and drinking gin and tonic. At work the next day a friend told me she had spent the day in the garden – I think she meant something entirely more strenuous and less relaxing. I’ll stick to my version.

Whereas some flowers symbolise passion, beauty, desire, nobility, glory, pride and devotion, spring flowers seem to represent more subtle emotions. According to an internet site devoted to the meaning of flowers, a few examples are:

  • snowdrops – hope
  • daisies – innocence, loyalty, purity
  • hyacinth – loveliness
  • bluebell – constancy
  • crocus – happiness
  • daffodil – respect
  • forsythia – expectation, anticipation
  • iris – wisdom, faith, hope

I have been roaming the streets taking photos of these delicate flowers and blossoms. Their gentle nature is exquisitely appealing. 'Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May' indeed, even if it is September over here. The shy blooms bring out a feeling of tenderness and make me smile. And they distract me from the spring cleaning I really should be doing.

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