I love flowers. The most potent memory of a floral celebration was when my son was born almost 25 years ago. I was given a very beautiful bouquet of mixed blue flowers by a dear friend of mine, Lesley Ann. This thought was typical of the giver. Blue for a boy and a considered choice of the most stunning flowers to bless the time of a new life and the joy it will bring.
Very, very unfortunately the lovely Lesley Ann is no longer with us. Taken unfairly at the age of 48, but the legacy of her kindness remains in the memory of those who knew her. Some 6 years ago, on a nondescript February day in a quaint, small Yorkshire church in England, an unprecedented few hundred arrived to respect her subtle effects. Inside, whilst the service brimmed over with people and with too much disbelief of loss, there was a moment when the sun slipped its rays through the ancient, closed stained glass, making a straight path across the church to reflect off white petals. From memory I assume lilies or roses. At that moment, the silence burst, the beauty of flowers mixed with many quiet tears. An odd mix.
For a few months after that, when I used to buy the first Spring flowers, I would to talk to Lesley Ann in my mind and consider the arrangement for her pleasure as a compliment to that once chosen blue bouquet for my son’s birth. The small white flower here is chosen to remember Lesley Ann. This delicate little natural dog rose – delicate, honest and open, symbolic of consistency, kindness, generosity with friendship always on offer. Taken in only in daylight and no colour effects, it has been very slightly digi-manipulated to fuse together the petals, to symbolically seal its qualities of purity and fragility, in the endeavour to provide the allusion of something alive, yet gently suspended in time. A physical memory is not allowed to disappear from our minds entirely, so the hope is that perhaps the lesson and meaning from this image, is that even the past, and the very gone, can even evolve into something fresh, new and lasting.
The vibrant pink magnolia header of La Floralie celebrates Peter, her husband. They did not remain married, but in my mind they very much belonged together. Over 25 years, the real story of their joint lives was a tale of Romeo and Juliet proportions,. They each departed from the world young and beautiful on the inside. Together as well as apart, they gave a great deal to be grateful for by those who knew them. The magnolia blossom picture was taken during early April, a follow up to a country walk tribute to Peter from mid March 2014. On that day, sunny Sunday, a blue sky and the first magnolias reached up into the heavens, triumphant to be alive, exuberant bright reminders to his humour, wit, sunshiney ways and lovely, cheeky smile.
Magnolias are amongst the first Spring trees to blossom, that mix of plummy pink, clear sky and those early Spring greens, fulfils us with knowing and hope for warmer days. Those gigantic and sturdy blooms, fathomless pockets of warmth, protectors of the good and the small in the insect world. And there is also no match for a magnolia in appearance, they are truly handsome, whether in March sun or April showers. To burst into a season with such power, it just never seems possible that when those petals first fall, that a truly regal floral majesty is disappearing. On the ground below only a memory of their charisma, difficult to recognise how the promise of next year’s graceful blossoming lies deep inside those gnarled trunks. One has to look after that which appears strong on the outside. This photograph was taken just as they were seen, superb as the person, no alteration, no special effects.
Funny isnt it, when flowers fade they still do have a charm, time does not allow any to defy it, but it is always good and right to remember blooms at their very best. I shall look forward to next Spring and the one after that, as days of the magnolia and for the giving of blue and pink bouquets for the births of new boys and girls, perhaps even mixed bunches for multiples!
So kind and dearest Lesley Ann and Peter, La Floralie definitely has to be for both of you, you were both so great.
© 2014 La Floralie