In appreciation of spring – poets and portals

The beginning of T.S. Eliot’s poem, “The Waste Land,” opens with “April is the cruellest month…”

Truly, I couldn’t agree more with this assessment.

Here in Ontario, we’ve sampled just about the worst role of every season during this one month alone. April’s weather forecasts were not on their best behaviour, offering only a few days taste of the tantalizing weather yet to come.

In my neck of the woods, the temps dropped overnight and it actually snowed. Thankfully a light dusting was all we received and most has now dissipated.

In any case, most poems about spring are uplifting,  giving us hope for rejuvenation and renewal in our own lives and our gardens. These written words are like doors opening to better times ahead… an optimistic tête-à-tête, or a literary sightseeing adventure, taking us from death towards the newness and rebirth of spring.

These portals are waiting to be cracked opened by the reader. It seems that doors and books have much in common! One may encounter something entirely more pleasant on the other side if the door handle is turned or the cover flipped.

With that in mind, I stumbled upon (a snippet of) a poem like that only this morning while perusing Pinterest.

Intrigued, I tracked down the rest, enjoying the lovely imagery offered, that in my mind sum up the best parts of spring!


“April Weather” by Lizette Woodworth Reese 

From – A Handful of Lavender (1891)

Oh, hush, my heart, and take thine ease,

For here is April weather!

The daffodils beneath the trees

Are all a-row together.

 

The thrush is back with his old note;

The scarlet tulip is blowing;

And white – ay, white as my love’s throat –

The dogwood boughs are growing.

 

The lilac bush is sweet again;

Down every wind that passes,

Fly flakes from hedgerow and from lane;

The bees are in the grasses.

 

A Grief goes out, and Joy comes in,

And Care us but a feather;

And every lad his love can win,

For here is April weather.


Links with further reading and information about the author:

 

 

Along with beauty and scent, Hyacinth flowers offer us myth and folklore, too!

Several weeks ago we hosted a wonderful family gathering at our home. Because of this, we were the lucky recipients of beautifully potted, forced hyacinths.

A Hyacinth, aka Hyacinthus, are bulbous, perennial plants, native to the eastern Mediterranean from the south of Turkey to northern Israel.

Here in Canada, we plant these hardy bulbs in the fall.  Come springtime, they grow to a height of 6-8 inches, appearing in our gardens after the snow and (hopefully) any frost has gone.

The Hyacinth was so popular in the 18th century that more than 2,000 cultivars were grown in the Netherlands, its chief commercial producer.

I enjoyed the heady aroma of these spectacular spring flowers very much over the course of the following week. When heading upstairs to our kitchen where the flowers were on display, I could smell them before seeing them. Admittedly, I could get used to that!

After such a long winter, (hopefully behind us now, but with today’s weather, that’s questionable), it was a pure feeling of joy to experience the sight of those blooms and their exquisite perfume.

‘The Death of Hyacinth’ by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo. – Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid. Public Domain

These lovely, highly scented Hyacinths earned their name to honour a youth, accidentally killed by his friend and lover, the Greek god Apollo.

Homer wrote that the flowers appeared when the drops of blood from this fallen fellow met the ground.

Many floral enthusiasts like me are curious about botanical symbolism and the history behind flower names.

Any legendary correlations, little known details, quips, lore and tales about the natural world, linking all of it together, are usually a delight to discover!

I suspect any plant one could name, be it flower or tree, has a yarn spinning behind it!

With relation to the natural world, classical literature linked flowers to the gods via epic poems and tales that Homer, Ovid and others have spun, explaining beauty and the creation of so many botanical species.

Others fairy tales include life lessons that even today point out human frailties. Our contemporary society can still learn from these relatable plots as we still manage to trip over our own egos from time to time, not unlike the characters from many a fable.

With that in mind, it’s no wonder to this day we still offer floral tributes honouring people in our lives, marking every event from birth to death, and everything in between, or just because!

As you can see, cats aren’t immune to botanical beauties either. Even my cat Luna likes to stop and smell the flowers!

Have a good weekend, and Happy Gardening!

The first flowers of spring – Friday Flowers – Crocus

Happy to share that the lovely little crocus flowers are holding their heads up high in the garden.

The first blooms in spring offer any gardener something to cheer about!

One clump of crocus has a view (of what I’m calling a small glacier) on the driveway.

Thankfully milder weather has arrived, so that snow is melting fast!

Crocus, like the narcissus flower, has its own connection to Classical Greek mythology.

It turns out Crocus was a mortal youth who, because he was unhappy with his love affair with a nymph named Smilax, he was turned into this plant by the gods.

In another variation of the myth, Crocus was said to be a companion of Hermes. He was accidentally killed by Hermes in a game of discus. He was so distraught about it that he transformed Crocus’ body into a flower.

A fitting tribute!

Have a lovely weekend, everyone!