Floral

Revisiting England – thoughts from abroad

It’s time to revisit England. Not literally, though a little while ago we had thought to return this month. No, this time I am thinking of England at my favourite time of the year, when I always wish I were back there. It was April, 1968 when I first visited. I had just left a Canada which was still wintry, slushy and tired of the cold and snow. England was having one of its balmy, even hot, sunny springs, with flowers blooming everywhere, birds singing and everyone friendly and happy, sitting on the grass in parks and by canals. I fell in love with the country then and I will always go back there in my mind every spring. There is nowhere like it for me. I have no photographs of the spring in England, I don’t need them. My memory holds it all including the warmth of the sun on my back and on my pale winter face, and the wonderful scent of the spring flowers. Every year I think of the lines from Robert Browning’s “Home Thoughts From Abroad“* – “Oh, to be in England Now that April’s there…”

Loveliest of Trees, the Cherry - Ellie Kennard 2012
Loveliest of Trees, the Cherry – Ellie Kennard 2012

And then another line comes back to me from “A Shropshire Lad“** by A.E. Housman “Loveliest of trees, the cherry now Is hung with bloom along the bough…” Many years later, the first real home I lived in in England had two ornamental cherry trees outside the front door.  To this day every time I see a cherry tree in bloom, I am transported back to that time and the joy they brought me then.

Through the cottage window

There were few flowers to be seen on our trip back to the UK, but some of the scenes brought back just as many memories. It’s funny how even the interior of a modern park home, one of many almost identical in tight rows, can seem like a quaint cottage when it is filled with the things brought from just such an old home. Everything about this said ‘cottage window’ to me and the simple treasures brought to it from such an old kitchen filled the modern space with a feeling of solidity and timelessness. The little lidded pots for tea and coffee had made a graceful transition to sit on a modern windowsill, and the bird feeders transplanted to the tiny garden were so familiar that as you looked out beyond them to the golden leaves on this new riverbank you were once again standing in the kitchen of the ancient cottage on the river bank in the Suffolk countryside.

Cottage autumn window - Ellie Kennard 2016
Cottage autumn window – Ellie Kennard 2016

The things we choose to keep

When we move to new homes, we choose the things that we want to keep around us, things that represent in some way who we are and who we have been. Here, this window hanging plant crossed generations and was selected to be brought through multiple moves. The horse brasses in the sitting room, tide clock and seascapes from Suffolk hanging on the wall as if they had always been there all serve to connect us all with past windows, past cottages, past loves, friends and families. No casual visitor could guess why such a plant, such simple possessions were carried through sad and happy times, places and lives, yet, even without guessing, something does come through, something more powerful than a simple object.

Memories through a cottage window - Ellie Kennard 2016
Memories through a cottage window – Ellie Kennard 2016

Looking around the home we were staying in I was warmed by the memories that each piece of decoration brought back.  They all opened a window onto the past that was still there, though so far away in time and miles.

*Robert Browning’s “Home Thoughts From Abroad” (to hear the whole poem on Youtube)
**A Shropshire Lad” by A.E. Housman – the whole poem linked here

When Friends

Thinking of you - friends
Thinking of you – friends

When friends think of you and they let you know in some way, it makes your world a happier, warm place.

Thank you to all friends everywhere who brighten our lives.

Naturally Curly

I have had many new subscribers sign up for my blog lately, to my surprise (and delight, thank you all!). In celebration of this and for all of you reading, I am sharing a favourite image of mine I took in the full bloom of summer. This was our first year of growing dahlias since we left France, 20 years ago (and we had some glorious ones there, raised in the heat and sun of that idyllic place). We didn’t have much choice by the time we went dahlia tuber shopping, but we were generally pleased with the results, only losing a couple that didn’t make it to the surface. And the earwigs! What a battle I had with them, but I won!

Though the fresh blooms of this particular dahlia are flamboyant and dramatic, my eye was caught by this one which was almost spent, finishing its flowering in an elegant, stylish fashion. Each of the petals had begun to twist and curl and they reminded me of the tousled head of a little girl with brightly coloured, naturally curly hair.

Naturally curly - Ellie Kennard 2017
Naturally curly – Ellie Kennard 201

WHAT THE BEST DRESSED FUCHSIAS ARE WEARING THIS FALL

Now fall is upon us and the colours are starting to develop and intensify. It’s the most beautiful time of the year in some ways, though the chill is something I could do without. The warmth of the wood stove we use to heat our house and the faint smell of wood smoke in the cool, brisk autumn air have an appeal of their own and so I must simply shift my focus from the summer joys to those of this, one of my favourite seasons!

I looked out of my kitchen window yesterday morning to see these three jaunty looking fuchsias, protected so stylishly from the hard frost of the night before. I know their days are numbered, but as they are in glorious full bloom still, it’s surely not too much to ask just a few more days of enjoying the beauty of these before they go away for the winter?

What the best dressed fuchsias are wearing this fall - Ellie Kennard 2017
What the best dressed fuchsias are wearing this fall – Ellie Kennard 2017

While waiting and in memory

Some of my friends have recently lost loved ones, so thinking of them and their sadness at this time, I wanted to give them, even if only virtually, some of the dahlias from our garden. If they had lived nearby I would have taken them the actual flowers. These are for Prue, for Cynthia and for Amaya and for everyone else who might be feeling the loss of a friend or family member.

I am planning to share a few posts on a different theme from my usual ones on here, in hopes that they will be of interest to my present readers. I have been giving some thought as to how to do this, but I felt that I wanted to share some of the beauty of our garden with special friends and all who visit. They come with my love and thoughts for you all.

This fiery streaked and almost ragged looking flower has a warmth and a wildness that really appealed to me.

Dahlia flower - Ellie Kennard 2017
Dahlia flower – Ellie Kennard 2017

And a dahlia in waiting, teasing us, only partly unfurling, as if shy to show herself, the first to bloom on this new plant.

Coming soon, dahlia in waiting - Ellie Kennard 2017
Coming soon, dahlia in waiting – Ellie Kennard 2017

Because : Pretty in Pink

Just a post because…. because it’s pouring with rain and seeing these photos will brighten up my day (and maybe yours); because flowers, (especially after rain) have a power to lift the spirit and lighten the sadness felt by so many it seems; because this fuchsia cheers me up every time I walk up my path to my front door; because it’s pretty in pink! (See all my floral images on my gallery here: Flora)

Fuchsia Pretty in Pink- Ellie Kennard 2017
Fuchsia Pretty in Pink- Ellie Kennard 2017

This is a wider view of the fuchsia plant, hanging with blooms, each one lovelier than the rest!

Fuchsia - Ellie Kennard 2017
Fuchsia – Ellie Kennard 2017

And last is a fantasy fun blur image, in a tunnel whirl of pink! Have a wonderful weekend. (See all my blurry images in my gallery here: When Life is a Blur )

Fuchsia in a whirl of pink- Ellie Kennard 2017
Fuchsia in a whirl of pink- Ellie Kennard 2017

Wrong Dress

As soon as she entered the ballroom she knew she had chosen the wrong dress.

As soon as she entered the ballroom she knew she had chosen the wrong dress - Ellie Kennard 2017
As soon as she entered the ballroom she knew she had chosen the wrong dress – Ellie Kennard 2017

The rhododendron by the washing line is particularly lovely this year and I was admiring it late one afternoon when I suddenly noticed that there was someone at the party of frilly floral frocks who had not chosen the right dress for the occasion. What I particularly liked was how proud she appeared in spite of the ordinary yellow outfit. She was the one who stood out!

Visit my Flora gallery to see the rest of the floral themed images : https://elliekennard.ca/ekgallery/flora/

Breaking Out Of The Deep-Freeze

Where have I been lately? It must seem to my regular readers as if I have been in a time warp, or frozen in our great white North! Well it’s been a little like both, so I hope you will forgive me. I can’t write much at the moment, but I thought that even just sharing a photograph is better than doing nothing.

Breaking Out of the Deep-freeze: Frozen flowers - Ellie Kennard 2017
Breaking Out of the Deep-freeze – Ellie Kennard 2017

I have been doing a lot of cooking in the time when I seemed to be inactive and finally realized that I had to clear out the frozen flowers that have been in my deep freeze for over a year! So with fond memories of summers past, like ghosts of their former selves, and looking forward to more flowers to come when (finally) the snow goes, here is one of them. I love how there does seem to be ghostly outlines of the blooms behind, and the stronger ones in the front. I am making my way to the front again, I hope.

White Rose’s Glowing Heart of Summer

White Rose's Glowing Heart of Summer : Ellie Kennard 2016
White Rose’s Warm Heart : Ellie Kennard 2016

With the chilly temperatures of autumn creeping into our bones in Nova Scotia, I felt like seeing a flashback to the drowsy heat of summer. This white rose in multiple exposure shows the warm glow inside the cool white petals. This beautiful flower was blooming in the middle of Halifax in the public gardens which are like a quiet oasis of peace with the bustling of the city surrounding it. As the gardens in the city, the heart of a flower is an oasis of visual sweetness for the visitor to sit and contemplate, just as it is literally for nectar seeking insects. I hope this warm-hearted rose has brought back a memory of summer days and taken some of the chill you might be feeling from the cold damp days of autumn.

Black-Eyed Susans Lighting up the Shadows

Black-Eyed Susans (Rudbeckia_hirta) lighting up the undergrowth - Ellie Kennard 2016
Black-Eyed Susans (Rudbeckia_hirta) lighting up the undergrowth – Ellie Kennard 2016

Life has become hectic as we prepare for the winter. Night is coming earlier and earlier and even during the day the clouds, whipped by the winds will darken the sky before releasing their chilly rains. The summer really has finished, but despite all of that, if you look into their secret hiding places behind bushes and in sheltered areas, you will find these bright splashes of light to cheer the gloomiest day. I hope you enjoy these sunny little wild flowers and that they brighten your day.

See more floral images on my Flora gallery. https://www.elliekennard.ca/ekgallery/flora/