Sweet, Scented Nostalgia…….

The afternoon is warm and still and the pink petals of the flowering cherry blossom drift silently and slowly down onto the flower beds beneath as if the thick, sultry air is just too tired to stir. In this atmosphere, the scent of the Gillyflowers rises and stays, and I breathe in its heady perfume as I pass the spring flowers.

Last Autumn, in rain so constant and drenching that gardening felt more like being at sea than on land I began cramming this little border with a potential kaleidoscope of  Spring bedding and bulbs; Grape Hyacinths, Parrot Tulips, Narcissus, Gillyflowers (Wallflowers), Forget-me-nots, Bellis, Cowslips and fat-faced Pansies all get pushed in and jostle for space to grow. This was the planting which would re-create the magical Persian carpet effect of the flowers I remember from childhood; the flowers in my Grandma’s garden. Specially planted  for colour and scent and  and only deemed perfect for cutting when these blooms were just a day or so from their absolute best, she would pick a big bunch of these sunny and fragrant flowers for me to take to infants school. Over the years the memory of this border has become more vivid and the vivacity of the flowers, so saturated in colour, the scents so intense, that I have longed to revisit it.

And here it is now, in flower, with each bloom unfurling its petals in a sequence which spreads joy each time I pass by or see it from my kitchen window. But its beauty is mysteriously hard to capture with my camera. I try again and again, photographing the whole bed, the individual flowers and finally, a little bunch in a vase. There is true beauty here, but even with it all combined, it never competes with the memory of my Grandma’s garden.

And perhaps that is how it should be, so that those scents, colours and loveliness will never lose their intensity and magic but will stay perfect and glorious in my heart forever.

Fragrant Gillyflowers, Gillivers or Wallflowers.


24 thoughts on “Sweet, Scented Nostalgia…….

  1. Your flower are gorgeous. The picture with them in your vase is pretty enough to frame and put on a wall in your house. Your memories of your grandma are vivid. Thank you for sharing them-

  2. Thank you so much for being the first person to comment Honey! I am so glad you like the photo. It is the first time that I have created a border which comes anything close to the one my Grandma had in her garden. She lifted her tulip bulbs after they had flowered and I would see them drying in her shed. Now her shed was another story! It even had pretty curtains at the window and a little rug- lovely!

  3. Your flowers are so lovely and I love reading the names, poetic in their own right. But, you’re right, a photo will never capture what you have because what you have goes so far beyond the flowers themselves. All those wonderful memories!

    • Thank you so much! Planting and being around this border which so evokes my childhood garden has been very special.
      Once again the air is unusually still this evening and the scent from all the lovely flowers fills the air. The scent of Gillyflowers is mentioned in Brideshead Revisited.
      Are you familiar with these flowers?

    • Thank you so much Priyan. I wanted to do credit to the flowers, but it is not always easy!
      I am a little behind this week and have not got around to checking your recent posts….I will do so very soon as I do not want to miss any of your great photos.
      Hope you are ok and life is kind to you.

  4. Your photography is beautiful……the arrangement, props, colors……I too carry fond memories of my Grandmother who shaped me. A beautiful and wise woman whose mere presence taught me life lessons…..just like yours I suppose.

    • Thank you so much Gretchen. We were lucky to have such nice Grandmothers. I feel so closely bound to mine, with her sewing skills and love of gardening. She was called Dora.

  5. I remember, I remember
    The roses red and white,
    The violets and the lily cups–
    Those flowers made of light!
    The lilacs where the robin built,
    And where my brother set
    The laburnum on his birthday,–
    The tree is living yet!

  6. You always match beautiful words with your beautiful images. The whole is unique, special, a real transport of delight.

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