Showing Off Roses

We’ve been enjoying a wonderful summer this year, I must say, lots of hot days to be peacefully spent in our garden, having an equal lot of cold drinks with another lot of ice cubes in’em, who can abide a lukewarm gin and tonic, I ask you, and finally, lots and lots of roses to marvel at, smell, and fall in love with. I’m quite passionate about them, I guess you’ll see why, in all the forty-two pictures I’m going to share now…

A Gardener’s Pride And Joy

Spring always gets me. Each day anew. Each day there are new blossoms to be discovered, leaves have grown, rendering the garden more and more green, what was once austere and gaunt in winter, turns lush and paradisic. Butterflies and bumble bees dance through the air and indulge in nectar. It’s like exchanging tea with champagne. So, I give you some of spring’s extravaganzas from our garden. Cheers!

A Toast to Spring!

After Christmas and New Year’s Eve, winter gets a little dull, don’t you think? Grey skies, cold weather, flu and not a single lark to be mistaken for a nightingale: highly frustrating a period. But these days of despair are finally over now. Spring’s here! Somebody open a bottle of champagne…

Summer guests.

 

Sometimes, when it’s really hot, strenuously hot, like right now with these 36 degrees Celsius (or 98 degrees Fahrenheit), I really don’t care for company. I like to suffer by myself, indulge in cold lemonade, refresh it with ice cubes every thirty seconds, these things melt in no time, like zero point nothing seconds, and try to read more than one sentence at a time, as War and Peace might refresh you with all these scenes in snowy Russia, but it wears you down with its obsessive joy for details, Tolstoy could never just let the little things go, the heavy lifting of these 1,200 pages, the one thousand and two hundred pages the details took to be described on, really kill you. Preoccupied with all these activities, I really don’t care for entertaining anybody else but me, I mean it, and please do take this hint: don’t ever come over for a drink! However, there are exceptions to this my summer rule: birds, dragonflies and bumble bees. They are the only houseguests I appreciate this time of year. They help themselves with drinks and food, nectar, pollen or whatever they are having, they don’t ask for the latest gossip or a reflection on the latest political events, they just tweet, fly about and hum, softly, pleasantly, and ever so soothingly.

True blue.

There’s that particular time of day called the blue hour, supposedly a very nice moment to celebrate because it’s so romantic, but I’ve never been really aware of when it starts or ends, I seem to have missed thousands of blue hours in my life—today, however, I was enjoying a blue day. While I was having my first coffee in the garden, the one supposed to bring my brain back to life, the blue hydrangeas in front of our blue garage doors suddenly caught my attention, and I couldn’t stop looking at this blue still life all day, from every angle possible. In fact, it’s so beautiful a scenery that I forgot all about my coffee and had to make a fresh one. Later, I mean. Because I forgot all about making fresh coffee, too…

A perfect day in the garden.

I spent the entire day in the garden, comfortably installed in a chair, looking at what was in front of me, and wasn’t bored a single moment. He must really be into roses, you might think, and partially you’re right, but truth be told, I had my iPhone with me, initially to take some more shots of the garden in bloom, when it suddenly occurred to me that I had Netflix on it, now an Obama approved entertainment device, and as I felt like something British, I started the original version of House of Cards, after I had made tea of course, as I can’t watch anything British without the most British beverage there is, tea. Over Fortnum & Mason’s Royal Blend—royalty, by the way, is quite British, too— I took a crash course in advanced manipulation and found Ian Richardson’s Francis Urquhart much more interesting a character than Kevin Spacey’s Frank Underwood, you may replace “interesting” by other adjectives such as vicious, refined, monstruous, vile, evil, foul, wicked, elegant, cynical, or pleasant. Pleasant, mainly because I like a character, any character, well played, quite especially such a complex character as this excelling manipulator on the run. Well done, Mr Richardson. I watched series 1 entirely, intermitted with occasional looks to the left and to the right, to hydrangeas in bloom and ageing terracotta pottery, and if it weren’t for my cat and his dinner, I’d still be outside, watching series 2 and my garden in the moonlight.

Howards End revisited.

At the beginning of James Ivory’s wonderful film Howards End, a perfect adaptation of E. M. Forster’s novel, Vanessa Redgrave walks through a beautiful cottage garden, it’s hers, no doubt, she’s so very much at ease, she’s contemplating everything with such devotion as if she wanted to soak it all in, as if these flowers, trees, and the mere grass she’s walking on were as essential as the oxygen in the very air she’s breathing in, she’s completely in her element, utterly invigorated—this scene is of no particular importance to the film, at first glance she might appear just as another elderly Victorian lady from another English period drama, her role is just a supporting one anyway, but to me, this scene is everything, to me, it’s the best scene of the entire film, however more significant the rest of the content is, it’s just so true a moment, there’s nothing better than to take a walk through your garden, paying a visit to all these plants you’ve known for years and years, watch them grow and bloom, branches, boughs, and trunks, leaves and blossoms, they all have your complete attention, every single one of them, and this attention is what takes away your every problem, some kind of gentlemen’s agreement, you care for us, we care for you—pacta sunt servanda, and on goes the hose.

A gardener‘s pride and shame.

I didn’t talk much at dinner, actually I didn’t talk at all. I just ate. Can’t remember what we had though. Something with grilled octopus. I didn’t care. I had just committed murder. A brutal murder. Most foul. Unforgivable. I had cut off an innocent rhododendron’s branch, a branch with tree blossom buds. Perfectly healthy obviously, not dead at all. Not even in bloom yet. Botanical abortion. Unforgivable, as I said. In court, my attorney might come up with excuses like he didn’t know what he was doing or he was in a hurry or even worse the lighting was bad, you see, he was working late, right before dinner time, the sun had almost set, but all this would be just some disgusting bending of the law, juridical malpractice, truth is, our rhododendrons are in bloom, the pride and joy of any gardener and the perfectionist I am, I was cutting dead wood, I had these flawless gardens in mind you see on Instagram, and was being careless, yes, totally careless, it was murder, no doubt, manslaughter at the very least – I am guilty of rhododendronslaughter. That’s a great word for scrabble, by the way…

The paradise that is spring.

Within a week, everything went from pale green to bright green, the magnolias and the azaleas burst out into splendour, the apple blossoms overcame their basic shyness, they’re not yet in full white bloom, they’re just peeking, all pink buds, but blushing is very becoming, that’s at least what Oscar Wilde once said and he should know, all while the camellias try to outbloom everything else. I spent all day readapting my eyes to spring, to tell apart all those different shades of pink, amethyst, purple, rosé, red, ruby, maroon, and fuchsia, shades I then had difficulties to specify, defining needs variety per se, but a variety that makes you run out of words is quite unsettling, what do you call a fuchsia with a touch of orange? Or worse, a lavender that is somewhere inbetween lilac and violet? Obviously, the human speech cannot not express in entirety the richness of nuances in these blossoms, our vocabulary does not reflect nature’s absurd wealth of shades. So, I came up with some new colours: opyr, trevine, joaquinth, horsate, satch, dorrak, and poppyl. Poppyl is popylo in French. The others, I’ll still have to translate into all known languages. I’ll keep you posted.

A hundred tulips, please.

You can’t have enough tulips, believe you me, you simply can’t. Even when your favourite vase refuses to take them all, just put the rest in some other vase, in some other room. My favourite vase, for instance, looks best with about 24 tulips. The only alternative to tulips, by the way, are peonies. Once, I stuffed that vase with so many peonies, I almost went bankrupt, peonies in Switzerland are absurdly expensive, in Zurich at that, the Swiss town considered quite expensive even by the Swiss themselves, admittedly, by Swiss from places less posh than Zurich, let’s say, Uri or Wallis, you know, the cantons with more cows than people, anyway, it was the best bouquet ever, I had added more and more peonies, every time I left the house, I came back with more peonies, they were sold in packs of three for 19,90 Swiss francs, just until the vase would burst, leaving almost no place for water, anyway, bankrupt or not, more is definitely more, as far as flowers are concerned, and then you just have to wait for the best, the moment when they slowly fade away, their withered allure is so very Marguerite Gautier, coughing her beautiful spirit into some lace lined damask before she disappears, leaving nothing behind but blood stains on her handkerchief.