One of the first sunny gardening days / enjoy!
Today I was notified that this blog has reached 100 followers! I am very grateful to all of you, all over the world.
This blog started as way to link family to our travels. It is now more of a garden blog. As a huge thank you to all of you, I send you this red rhododendron – prolific and special – may your own writings and blogging be abundant and extraordinary!
On Christmas Eve I did nothing. The tree stood decorated for weeks, the presents wrapped, the cards written, my mother and daughters’ gifts posted, the menu decided and the garden watered and silent – except for the wind which, from time to time, sorts out the leaves.
I have been reading Charles Dickens’ classic, A Christmas Carol. I don’t think I’ve ever read it in its entirety. This story of the bitter, greedy and cold hearted Scrooge whose motto is “keep Christmas in your way and let me keep it in mine” and who is forced to face his ghosts of Christmas Past, Christmas Present and Christmas Yet to Come. Despite the western world’s slow secularisation amidst polarised religious ideas, Christmas has to be, as Scrooge’s nephew proffers
….a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time; the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as id they really were fellow passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys.
Scrooge, in the end, is given another opportunity to do good and join life.
For me, this Christmas is a time to reflect on family. This Christmas, a life long dream of finding my father’s family has come to be realised. For the last three months I have been communciating with my lost family in the Czech republic. They live in a place similar to here on the Mount. They are like me, they love the garden and they love Christmas. We will visit them for the first time this January, they have been abundantly generous and open-hearted – it will be a momentous meeting.
With these thoughts in mind, I wish you all the time to reflect over the Christmas season. I thank my family for their love and support; to my new Czech family, this has been an amzaing journey and one which continues; to my school colleagues, you are so very special in my life, to my wonderful neighbours here on the Mount and to all those amazing people I have encountered throughout the year, may this Christmas bring you solace and happiness. Like Scrooge in the end, may we know how to keep Christmas well…may that be said of us, and all of us.” Merry Christmas one and all.
No, not the popular female singer but the crimson colours of the camelias! On this unusually sunny morning and the walkways strewn with pink petals, it never ceases to amaze me how these trees push forth their abundance.
In our decade here on the Mount, we have experienced drought conditions, heat waves, strong, hot northern winds and torrential rains. As a consequence, we have lost our fair share of important trees – a weeping cherry, the year we went to Italy; an established magnolia, the year of the drought and along with it, a magnificent pale pink rhododendron, odorata. With these significant losses we have tried to keep our mainstay trees alive during summer. Perhaps our lovely neighbours’ example of abundant watering makes sense! Our rewards are many.
My gratitude really must go to the previous own of this property. She was a remarkable woman. Raising her four children alone and working as a nurse by night, she had a grand vision of the colours in a garden. Painstakingly planting camelias, rhododendrons, azaleas, lilacs and magnolias she created an English garden beneath a canopy of gum trees. In this season, however, it is the camelia which takes pride of place.
The English poets knew their landscapes. William Wordsworth wrote of paths and country meanderings. John Milton wrote about “those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world”. For me these are all found in a garden.