In the UK, if you want a bland, non-committal beige paint for your walls you choose a shade called ‘magnolia’. But, at this time of year when you look around and see the real thing blossoming all around, you realise this name is totally inappropriate. From shades of pure white and shell pink through to bubble-gum magenta and purple – beige is one colour it is not!
The weather at the weekend was perfect (hooray) – blue skies and sunshine and a hint of warmth on the gentle breeze blowing up from the Azores. Perfect for a ‘Suburban Safari’ – Big Blossom Hunting. As most of the houses in the streets around me were built between 1880-1930 this was ideal hunting grouind as it seems builders of the day allotted each front-garden either a camelia, a magnolia or a monkey-puzzle tree. (Or laurel. We ended up with laurel).
I can’t imaging what it must be like to wake up in the morning, and on opening the curtains to be confronted with such amazing beauty right outside your window! The anticipation through those cold days in late winter and early spring, watching those big, hairy buds getting ready to burst forth… wishing for the day of maximum blossomage to hurry up, but at the same time knowing this is the beginning of the end; that ultimately you are heading towards a carpet of petals that will snow down like giant tears all over your garden. Then, as you clean them up, knowing that there is the longest possible time until the beautiful blossom appears again.
God, I’m a depressive maniac sometimes. Suffice to say, it looks great. More than great; it’s magical and inspiring and a wonderful introduction into British Summer Time. The best of times.