I love this time of year as we slowly fuse from late Spring into the heady, dust filled days of Summer. Often I will be found celebrating with a friend at the beautiful location of Avebury, Wiltshire. There is something incredibly tactile about walking on soil and land that has seen many an ancestor walk upon, usually in bare feet as opposed to my leather clad footwear. Walking amongst majestic stones, chalk lined paths, ending by the mystical tree with its incredible roots laid bare, twisting and curving, decorated with flowers, offerings and its branches suspended with ribbons and prayers.
Last year we celebrated the Summer Solstice by wearing Camomile flower crowns, to represent the fertility and abundance of the earth and to welcome in the new beginning of Summer. However this year my camomile plants appear to be struggling to rise skywards and sadly it might be the time of a Rose Crown, as this flower is doing far better in my garden. which leads me onto the fact that I am delighted with a new addition from a range produced by the late David Austin Rose Grower who passed away. It has the prettiest tight buds and circular layers of hot pink, but the finale is when you bend down in the late evening light to drink in the classic British aroma that evokes so many childhood memories of what a true English Rose smells like. All subtle perfume, wafting on a base layer of intoxicating deep rose florals, lightened by english rain as its top note, as for a middle layer it just oozes meadow florals. I am definitely exploring the possibility of creating my own perfume oil as an infused scent to wear on cooler autumn days, to remind me of the beauty and warmth, sunlight and rain drop weighted days that make up my summer.
Recently I find myself noticing plant and tree life more and more, and always reach out a hand to brush by a gentle budding leaf or feel its calm energy as I lean against rough bark, which feels warm even on a cold day.
Approaching Summer allows me to explore outdoor living more than indoor, and at any given chance, that is where I will be. Whether walking amongst my local neighbourhood, visiting a town, or just pottering in my own patch, pulling up weeds, planting a few seeds here and watching our garden flourish from pests. This year we have, courgettes, runner beans, butterhead lettuces and Lollo Rosso Red Italian lettuce, an abundance of sweet peas to fragrance our bedrooms, strawberries and soon a granite trough jam packed full of herbs to cook with, mint & lemon balm to make teas with and cool drinking waters with.
The light is something I am always drawn to as a photographer, the little nook of shade underneath a vast canopy of wisteria, or ornamental fig leaves reaching in near your legs as you sit outside sipping cool mint cucumber water. Light & shadow changes as the sun begins its ascent much higher into the sky. Casting beautiful long deep shadows across the agricultural landscape in early evening. The way the wind chases across grass fields like a sheet being flicked out onto the washing line, a rhythm so hypnotic it is hard not to notice this pattern wave and recede before your eyes as you drive by.
Currently the hedgerows and wayside banks are in a glorious bloom of poppies and wild white daisies, they are a beacon of hope in a concrete landscape, edging us and calling us to wander amongst their paths. Touching our hands onto the tall stems and watch as the sunlight filters flashes of red poppy leaves against the brilliance of white daisy heads. Purity & Passion.
The garden birds are singing with joy at the early morning light, a concerto of vocals, each one different and unique yet blended to create the most amazing song. I feel particularly blessed that we have a Song thrush who is often perched on a neighbouring tree, singing solo of an early evening with such volume and sweet sounds.
Insects begin to buzz and take flight, hovering on the precious plants that offer nectar and pollen to keep the hidden ecology of what must seem at times a fragile and briefly lived life. We reared a Tiger Moth and Butterflies last year, so we know first hand how much of a miracle that evolution is to the moment of flight. Up, up and away until it all gives way for another chapter.
Approaching Summer is truly a gift.