Pink Fire Pointer Blossoms


This is the time of year when we all start to yearn for spring.  Recently I hosted a lunch for my garden group and the topic was roses.  The speaker was the rose expert at the Huntington Library and Botanical Gardens and in his excellent lecture he spoke about the best roses for Southern California.  But before we heard about roses, the topic we were all discussing was the flowering pear tree.  We walked around my garden before the lecture and admired the tree which has recently burst into blossom.  It really has been a glorious sight each day and there have been moments when I have walked out the back door to see it and wanted to do a little dance "for sheer joy" just like Elizabeth did in Elizabeth and Her German Garden:

"I am always happy (out of doors be it understood, for indoors there are servants and furniture), but in quite different ways, and my spring happiness bears no resemblance to my summer or autumn happiness, though it is not more intense, and there were days last winter when I danced for sheer joy out in my frost-bound garden in spite of my years and children.  But I did it behind a bush, having due regard for the decencies.

There are so many bird-cherries round me, great trees with branches sweeping the grass, and they are so wreathed just now with white blossoms and tenderest green that the garden looks like a wedding.  I never saw such masses of them; they seem to fill the place.  Even across a little stream that bounds the garden on the east, and right in the middle of the cornfield beyond, there is an immense one, a picture of grace and glory against the cold blue of the spring sky."  -- Elizabeth Von Arnim

Even though it is not yet spring, the sight of that tree can elicit a serious case of spring fever.  There is just something so hopeful about those white blossoms against the blue of the sky.  The wind shakes the branches and the ground is carpeted in white petals.      

The British playwright and novelist J.B. Priestley, who by his own admission was a grumbler by nature, waxed poetic at the sight of spring blossoms:

"Blossom--apple, pear, cherry, plum, almond blossom--in the sun...after fifty years this delight in the foaming branches is unchanged.  I believe that if I lived to be a thousand and were left with some glimmer of eyesight, this delight would remain...At least once every spring on a fine morning... we stare again at the blossom and are back in Eden."

 On a day like this, spring does not seem very far away and I have been dipping into some of my favorite garden books for inspiration.

 I can't get enough of these inspiring stories about gardens and garden dreamers

Beverley Nichols, Vita Sackville-West, and Elizabeth Von Arnim are three of my favorite garden writers.   I love learning how the garden becomes a metaphor for finding hope and meaning in their own lives.  I also love the inspirational and how-to books on creating a garden.  My copy of Martha Stewart's Gardening is tattered from so much use.  Gardeners are often bookish types who love reading books about their passion during the winter months.  My stack of garden books is growing all the time and dipping into them on a chilly February day is one way to bring spring just a little closer.