Saturday, March 13, 2010

H is for Hydrangea

Okay, so maybe this no longer resembles a lush, pompon of a flower, but I couldn't resist taking this shot of the plant's skeletal remains before the gardener in the park where I was walking hacked them all down to make way for the much-anticipated arrival of the first spring blooms.  There's something that draws me to the stripped-bare beauty of leaves and twigs at the end of winter.  I think it is in part the textures, but it is also, I'm quite certain, the fact that these very twigs and leaves will soon be gone.  Sometimes the value of a thing or a person or a place grows greater to me when I realize how transient it is, how transient I am.  Ah, yes, mutability.  Percy Shelley and I would have been best friends.  Perhaps I should have named this post H is for Hurrah, as in the last one--at least until spring bursts on the scene.

I'm thinking tonight of what daylight will bring: the smell of cold mud and new moss, the taste of early morning tea and wheat toast with raspberry jam, and the feel of a pair of work gloves on hands that after a long winter have become too used to indoor pursuits.  There are gardens to clear at my mother's house, a fence to mend, and, yes, old hydrangeas to cut back.  Life itself right now is all about mending damage and pruning and preparing for a tomorrow that brings with it some things as expected and familiar as snowdrops and daffodils, but also, of course, surprises--some as welcome as a new plant volunteering itself in the garden, others as unwanted as a fence blowing down in a storm or a tree falling on the chicken coop (notice how much I want chickens; they peck their way into nearly every conversation and thought!).  I've got a good pair of pruning shears, a box full of tools, and my back is nearly mended from the tumble I took last fall.  I can pull on my wellies and tackle anything.  I'm ready.


  1. Ahh it's so lovely to hear you talk of spring and what it will bring.

    I'm pleased to hear your back is just about okay.

    Lovely weekend honey,

  2. we just picked some of these ourselves. we put them in little jars on our kitchen window and used them in the photographs of our lanterns for our little giveaway. I'm a bit obsessed by dead flowers and grasses but I could never explain why as eloquently as you have. it's always a joy reading your posts.

    have a nice weekend gigi.

  3. GiGi,
    I too have falled tree's broken fences etc.
    At last Spring is in the air.
    I over bought seed's I'll be a bentover woman
    by the time I plant them all.
    Your writings are so lovely.
    Have a fun St Pat's Day.

  4. Lovely analogy of hydrangeas.
    Enjoy working with your hands. Enjoy the smells of the earth and fresh spring air!
    Have a sweet weekend!

  5. ohhhh i want chickens, too...
    I think my sister is getting some this summer and I will so jealous....

    and the smell of's here, I smell it and right now it's just that mud smell, but I will take it :)

  6. Dear Gigi,
    We have just taken our son and daughter-in-law to Heathrow airport. They are going to Austin, Texas abd then on to Seattle, San Fransisco and New York. On the way back, we went to our garden centre, which was packed. That's probably due to the fact that it's Mothering Sunday, tomorrow but, there again, it's always packed. It was full of spring flowers and plants and we bought new secateur's, an old rusty urn, and fleece to supress the weeds so...we are getting in the gardening mood too !! I love your photograph of the hydrangea. I love hydrangeas, whatever time of year it is. They are beautiful, whatever the season.
    Enjoy the weekend, Gigi. XXXX

  7. I went into your post with H is for Hydrangea, and came out of it with H is for a pragmatic Hope.

  8. The birds are waking us up in the morning so spring is almost here. I am glad you reminded me about cutting back my dry hydrangeas, better get going. Have the best weekend and gorgeous photo. Xo

  9. love that you referenced shelley - he is a spring poet for me. and it makes me think of larks, pink light and making way for the new.

  10. What lovely imagery you have here! I truly enjoyed reading your post. Shelley is one of my favorites. Will you visit Keats in the fall? I love his poem "To Autumn." Oh, I am skipping ahead to other seasons! Sorry.

  11. Love your H is for Hydrangea....just lovely...spring is definitely in the air. Today I went bike riding and planted some flowers in my pots in the backyard...hopefully the squirrels will keep their little mitts out of them..!! Have a beautiful weekend,Gigi! xxoo P.S. Glad to hear you are on the mend!

  12. Let's pull on our wellies together then. The smell of cold mud has been calling around here now for a while now ;-)

    PS ...OOOH my anti spam word was Tatin! As in tarte tatin! Now that will be nice to eat outside in the spring sunshine with a cup of tea!!

  13. HOORAY...the sweet Earth is is magic times just now... and so is this image of yours of the hydrangea, Gigi...the last whispers of papery petals tugs at my heart...Happy Day, my friend ((HUGS))

  14. My favourite flowers ever, Gigi. They are all tied up in ghosts, in memories of places that no longer exist and people who have passed on. There is something powerfully evocative about them, redolent of loss, but in the sweetest sense possible.

    I'm loving the arrival of spring, the heat in the sun that is enticing the children out into the garden. Our much neglected garden! Oh to have more time!

  15. Hi Gigi, I just wanted to mention that I enjoyed you post about the letter E for eggs and was so glad that you mentioned the Chip-In-Farm for I had not known about it but it stuck in my mind. Yesterday my husband and I were on our way back to Maine from Concord and were driving through Bedford when something caught my eye that I wanted to photograph...we turned around and that is when we saw the sign for Chip-In-Farm. What a great place, we loved it and I made a link from my post in my Shells and Roses blog to your post about the eggs!
    It was raining hard so we didn't see the chickens or the farm animals that you saw only two cows in the distance! Thanks so much for mentioning them!

  16. You make me itchy to get outside and get busy. And I don't even have a garden to poke around in. We may just have to do something about that.

  17. Spring is such a wonderful time, isn't it? Is there anything better than the scent of freshly turned earth? I can see the new little hosta shoots peeking out of the ground. I hope that they will make it into leaf this year before the deer come and chew off the tips!
    I absolutely love Autumn the most, but right now, at this time of year, spring is my favourite...most definitely.


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