Saturday, 25 May 2013

Of Gardens, Parks & Rhododendrons

I do know that strictly speaking photos of flowers in England do not constitute information about Mas Blanc Writer's Retreat... but when I have some stunning rhododendron shots in hand, I can't help but share them. They are so stunningly beautiful, I can be cheered up for days after viewing rhododendrons, no matter where I see them (they do very well in Tasmania too) because no matter what colour or shape the blossoms are, they simply demand complete attention, the kind of breathless adoration one might give a movie star or saint. Rhododrendrons are the very opposite of wallflowers, they are "in your face" gorgeous.....These shots were taken in a very pretty park called The Hollies, in Leeds... one of those walking-gardens designed in the 19th century that combines carefully thought-out plantings along paths and occasional untended areas that provide free-form natural foliage and flowers. The rhododendron bushes are scattered throughout the park so that every few moments I had to  express my delight with another "aaaaahhhh!"

Not a shy, retiring sort of blossom, the rhododendron say "here I am!"
I love gardens of all kinds, from those found in public parks to those made in back yards... and perhaps especially those that are grouped together in allotments, an old British custom that is making a visible comeback not only in in the UK but here in France and over in Canada too (GOOGLE the McVean Farm, situated outside Brampton near Toronto, to see an interesting version of the community garden writ large). The following photo shows the allotment  on a hillside behind my sister's house in Headingley (Leeds), for more than 120 years a place where individuals have been keeping their gardens together.  As we walked around its perimeter at dusk, blackbirds filled the air with song and we spied one of the resident foxes hightailing it down a grassy alleyway. So green, so peaceful, such a sense of communal connection in the work of growing food -- and flowers, too. Everywhere there were forget-me-nots in bloom, although they are not so visible in this photo taken as evening fell.

This is just one section of the Allotment, but you get the idea if a little patch of heaven has fallen onto earth