A Cultivated Space
I’m surrounded by beautiful blossom, most spectacularly a wonderful Judas tree (less memorably but more correctly known as Cercis siliquastrum) a lilac and a young apple with fading cherries, in various pinks, not far away. Perhaps just past their peak in this southerly spot, but the puffs of blossom have been a delight, both walking through the surrounding garden and on my weekly trips for essential shopping. However, most of the drama takes place down below. Looking straight out from my rooftop domain the only pink to be seen is in the blurry middle distance, all of which is a seasonal treat but nothing to compare with the display of Taihaku cherry blossom at Alnwick Castle. https://www.alnwickgarden.com/the-garden/cherry-blossom/
I’ve never been.
Once upon a time I tried introducing blossom on the balcony. My prunus Kojo-no-mai didn’t live up to its reputation, courtesy of the RHS, of being ‘perfect for pots’, and was finally drowned by last year’s ‘Beast from the East’, while blue berries without enough cross pollination (self pollinators don’t always do what it says on the tin) and a fruiting cherry, which grew too big for the balcony, and is now happily installed on the allotment, were also part of the failed project.
So instead I enjoy what’s round about and wait impatiently for the earliest summer colour to arrive. The scabious, scabiosa columbaria ‘Flutter Rose Pink’ http://retiringgardener.uk/2020/04/14/a-city-stilled/ to be more exact, forming the advance party.
But there are moments, and this is one, when this comfortable high level living, with the inevitable lurch from Spring to Summer (as container gardening doesn’t always manage easy, slow paced transitions from one season to another) doesn’t feel enough.
Cow parsley billowing in the hedgerows is what I yearn for but will be gone before I next cross the M25. Full of the promise of languid days, surrounded by soft and subtly different greens, accompanied by bird-song, this is where my urban soul meets the natural world most readily.
Meanwhile there are other opportunities to think about what it means to be human and our relationship with the natural world; this might be one worth exploring:
To register please email Stella Lyons at
Alnwick looks wonderful–we were planning to go there this summer, but that is looking unlikely now.
Vernon and I love Stella Lyons’ lectures and look forward to them. I remember her father Robin–who wouldn’t?
Our apple tree is covered in blossom. I hope that means lots of tasty apples later (russets). Sonia