It’s that miraculous time of year where, every day it seems, something new is starting to bloom while something else is starting to fade away.
Peonies are in full bloom everywhere now. Yes, they’re gorgeous when open; but really – don’t you just have a tiny gasp upon spotting a perfect flower bud a day or so before fully open, perhaps early in the morning, with dew still beading the smooth petals?
And is there anything more exciting than realizing that, in a week or so, these tiny, individual flowers will be joined by hundreds of other, identical, flowers to form the most beautiful ‘smoke,’ providing the common name for Purple Smoke Tree, ever created by nature?
And at the other end of this cycle, an oriental poppy fully open is spectacular, its petals like crepe paper, its colours so vibrant and alive… but there’s something somehow reassuring in the flopsy, flouncy appearance of a poppy in decline. Petals waft, one by one, to the garden floor; the seed head expands; colours mute and descend in a comforting exhale of energy.
The humongous, disorganized, messy flowers of an umbrella Magnolia evolve quickly from an upright, phallic creamy white spike to an other-worldly bloom before the petals start to brown at the edge, disorganize and fall to leave an enormous seed head.
In autumn, it’s simply goings; in June, comings and goings.