Sun still shining in Sheinton Street…
It’s hard to believe. The tulips can’t believe it either. Sunshine. Warmth. Blue Sky.
Well, it’s almost a circle, this gorgeous tulip. And it does come with its own bee. And I’m sure everyone who has had fun with March squares in squares and circles in squares will want to say a big ‘hurrah’ and thank you to BeckyB for keeping us so alert and amused with this challenge even as she’s moved between two countries and not been very well.
Not only has it been fun, this challenge has also opened my eyes to the quite surprising compositional dynamic of the square format. Laura (at Eljaygee) and I have been having a bit of chat about this. If you go to her post linked here you can see a range of photos that she feels have been given new life by applying a square crop. It’s all fascinating stuff, and anything that makes you LOOK with fresh eyes is always a bonus.
THANK YOU BECKY AND HAPPY EASTER
March Square Please visit BeckyB for her final March Square
Six Word Saturday Debbie has also been doing some fine squares so I’m also linking to her 6WS – another challenge that keeps us thinking as well as viewing.
What show-offs – the lot of them. But what a joyous display and just at the moment when most of the other tulips are fading. I spotted these yesterday on a chance visit to The Dingle, in the Quarry, Shrewsbury town’s lovely riverside park. This place was a popular haunt in my teenage years – for meeting up with friends and for the covert smoking of cigarettes. (Naughty us, polluting the place with Consulate smoke).
The Dingle was made out of an old stone quarry, and in many ways is very much a municipal garden with its regimental planting of bulbs and bedding plants. The bosky-dell setting works its magic though, and there was certainly no denying the cheeriness of the colour-scape under yesterday’s gloomy sky. BTW that’s St. Chad’s church in the background – in case you’re wondering. It is notable for having the country’s largest circular nave. Also Charles Darwin was christened there in 1809. Less notably, my Priory Girls Grammar School, along with the Priory Boys, used to traipse here every November for our founder’s day service. It goes without saying that the most exciting thing about the event to us girls was BOYS.
But back to the gardens.
The Dingle’s formal layout was created by Britain’s first TV celebrity gardener, Percy Thrower. He was Shrewsbury Parks Superintendent from 1946-1974 and very much associated with the famous annual Shrewsbury Flower Show which is still held in the Quarry every August. As a fifties child I remember watching Percy on the BBC. My father was a great admirer, so I followed suit and held Mr. Thrower in high regard even if I didn’t need the gardening advice. At that stage I was into growing oak trees from acorns, and he didn’t seem to cover that particular topic. Mostly I learned to associate gardening with kindliness and a genial practicality, qualities that the sculpture in the next photo captures too. I was touched to find him smiling out over his creation. And that his collar and tie were just as I remembered them.
I think he would be pleased that there has been no attempt to veer from his original concept and ‘update’ the planting scheme. And although, in the main, this is not my style of gardening, I can still admire it. I could also see how much pleasure it was giving to people of all ages – a truly hidden haven since there is no view of the interior from the surrounding park. You have to step inside one of several gateways to ‘discover’ it.
It makes me think: every person on the planet needs access to a garden – whether it be untouched wilderness, manicured parkland, cultivated arbour or even a window box. We need to keep in touch with the growing world that heals, soothes, inspires and nourishes us. Which also makes me think that good old Percy Thrower, who did so much to encourage everyone to garden and to appreciate plants was truly a bit of a hero. Please go and say hello to him if ever you are in Shrewsbury.
Jo’s Monday Walk If you haven’t yet joined Jo on one of her fabulous walks (and you never do know where she’ll be going next), then please put on your hiking boots and follow the link.
We thought we’d make the most of the sunny day and popped over to Attingham Park at lunch time. Half the world had the same idea and the place was alive with happy families and happy dogs roving over the parkland. There were fallow deer to see, bluebell woods, trees burstingly green, stream banks golden with marsh marigolds, and in the walled garden’s frame-yard these very shouty tulips. My goodness but they had a lot to say for themselves.
You simply can’t beat tulips for exuberance. They are presently bursting from pots and beds in my back garden – the result of a couple of cheap packs of bulbs from my local market stall bought back in the autumn.
I like the tulips that most resemble the wild forms – lily like, low-ish growing, and with several flower heads per bulb. These are one of the praestans varieties – possibly Bloemenlust. I threw the pack label away before pressing enter on the memory save button. Anyway, they are beautiful, whoever they are. And I especially love the way they throw their petals wide to catch the sun.
Six Word Saturday Please visit Debbie at Travel With Intent. She is the new host of SWS with the new rule of Six Words Only In The Title.
We’ve just spent four perfectly sunny days in Bodnant, in the Conwy Valley, North Wales. And anyone who knows Wales, and its propensity for precipitation, will know we were truly blessed. In March too. We even had breakfast outside. Ye gods!
We were staying in a cottage on the Bodnant Estate, which meant an essential visit to the wonderful Bodnant Gardens, owned and managed with much grace by the National Trust.
These tulips were the first things we saw as we stepped into the formal gardens. What show-offs.
There will be more Bodnant photos over the next few days. Here’s a taster, with a view of the Welsh mountains. There was a scattering of snow on the highest peaks, despite the sunshine.
Cee’s Flower of the Day Please pop over to Cee’s for more tulip jubilation.
Here at Sheinton Street we are wondering if spring has come. Certainly it looks like spring. We have had daffodils, crocus and cherry blossom, and now the crab apple tree is blooming. But this is not spring as we know it. For one thing the winds have been icy, and unrelenting day after day. For another we completely missed out on April showers, and when they finally came on Saturday night, they came all at once and pounded away what blossom was left on the damson tree. I’ll be surprised if the Shropshire Prune has any fruit this year. Out in the very wet garden on Sunday morning the tulips looked positively shivery. Dishevelled too.
Definitely brrrr all round. There’s an old English saying that advises, ‘Ne’er cast a clout till May is out,’ and I can tell you there will be no clout casting in this house – probably not till July. Time to stoke up the wood burning stove, and see how the baked spuds are cooking.
Happy May, Everyone, Whatever Your Season
Thinking of spring to come, except I realise now that I forgot to plant any bulbs, so these memories of tulips past will have to serve. They were snapped at very close quarters in my garden last April, and with a Kodak Easy Share. The poor little camera has lost its zoom, but it’s quite good on macro. The same might be said of the photographer.