The Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew
Finally managed to get to Kew Gardens yesterday, (home of the largest living plant collection in the world), and I had the joy of watching the man I love walk slow and smiling amongst acres of flowers. My Ferdinand the Bull. He kept wandering off the wide paths and pulling me towards magnolias, pear and apple and plum blossom trees; with their slim branches smothered in pale flowers they reminded me of graceful brides. The tree we fell in love with is a plum blossom tree; we could not stop taking pictures of it. Now the screensaver on my phone is white-flowered branches, bright against a blue sky.
Van Gogh caught blossom best of all, and the picture you see above is almond blossom branches, painted in 1890 for his new born nephew, named after him. We have a reproduction on our wall at home, like millions of other people. We go and look at the real thing in Amsterdam every year
Today I found out that plum blossoms stand for courage and hope in China, bursting on bare branches at the end of winter.
The daisies were out underfoot, the bluebells just starting in the woods. Golden pheasants scuttled in rhododendron bushes, coal tits and robins made a merry racket, children cartwheeled on the grass. Inside the glasshouses were rainforests and palms, huge ferns and tropical trees, the smell of things growing fast in the humid air. I loved the glass cases of orchids, and the little frogs coloured like Tiffany glass ornaments, and the verdigris-coloured lizards - little dragons, watchful and dignified, balancing on branches, gazing at us.
There were tropical fish and cold-water rays, later we walked past pools where fat bewhiskered carp swam and lily pads spread. I heard people speaking a dozen different languages, all of them happy to find themselves reminded of the beauties of the gardens, and the forests of Earth.
(I'm having a short break from writing about politics and terrorism; I'm enjoying the Spring holiday. I hope you are too)