101 When the backbones of Julius burn the waters, to brittle with thickened blood

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July does not freeze the pain of passing beauty

Nor the hopeful future of greening youth

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They both reach a new destiny.

For those whose breath completes the height of a summer

There is esprit.

Blessed with no desires

There is no pain.

Complete waterlessness awaits.

There is no pain

Complete waterlessness awaits.

And we will float and float and float.

© 2015 La Floralie


100 The Saharan trail mix of Magnolia Grandiflora

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Come early July 

…….in England and not before, these Gulf blooms will be ready.

Once in high summer, Wisley Gardens in Surrey, England I smelt this flower and had not experienced anything quite like it. Its intense perfume is the call of the exotic. If a flower ever wished to compete  with a rose in its perfection, fragrance and then empress status in its gigantic blooms, this must surely be it. One becomes locked in attention to its sheer magnificence.

Thornless, waxy  and evergreen, able to reach for the sky with inaccessibly high blooms and frustratingly visible, the flower will be just out of reach.  With majesty and grace it is unapologetic  “Look, admire, but you may not touch!”

After seeing a few trees in full bloom in Paris exactly this time last year, I was amazed to find a member of flora royalty gracing a small corner garden in my local neighbourhood, but so grateful I had caught sight of it. A grand gesture for a simple house with a garden defined by a washing line of clothes and  a neat rainbow collection of pegs. This tree was left to a life to look over the garden wall.

I have been watching this tree for 2 days.

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Friday I passed,  and saw how on a day of cloud, this closed bud was not at all ready to socialise.  I thought it would take another few days to open. Yesterday morning it was tight shut, but by afternoon, little did I know to its intentions.

After the nights thunderous rain and awaiting for the sunlight to become stronger, the blend of that watering and humidity, and that blossom had burst open.

Sunday, the  mid morning’s warm air on the back of my neck moved my footsteps towards the tree,   beckoning me to observe its progress once again.  Of course it would only perform to ‘open’  in the right circumstances. One could hear the silent thoughts:

“…do not have illusions of grandeur if you can not live up to them, the weather and light must be absolutely right….”

Just a few hours earlier when the light had been unsure, everything was held in delicate balance.  Unless the sky was going to clear and the sun to shine its brightest, for all flora  to be seen, Magnolia Grandiflora is not just going to flower in its own company. It might be independent, but it begs maximum attention to justify expending its immense energy. Such is this resource one to make a wise investment, or risk a waste for fragrance to be lost in mediocrity. Its scent perfumes are beyond the power of any other flower.

Today’s Saharan warmth had done its job, travelling across continents, it had followed its southern beauty to waft its intense, sweet balminess from the perfect white cup into the world around it.

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Few will ever care to look, or view upwards within such a modest brick wall habitat  to see where such a rich aroma will be originating. Such is the clever wisdom to keep one’s riches hidden, only on view for those who wish to see it. This must be one true floral statement in omniscience. It knows, sees and has everything.

© 2015 La Floralie

99 Day of the Elderflower

A Birthday post for Oscar

A warm day will progress the ripening of a flower’s full scent just as it does fruit, and when it does, the summer air, with a china blue sky above, can fill with happiness. Every flower will have its hour when it is most fragrant. The intention was to allow my share of wild elderflower on the local canal to sunbathe all day and become so totally imbued with its own fragrance that it would fall in love with itself. Then I would come along and pick it to make its own love potion – elderflower cordial.

On yesterday morning, whilst on earlier tasks in the day, as I passed simple, but proud gardens,  the sweetness of orange  blossom and sweet peach tea from roses pervaded in the surrounds,  as I passed. The warm air was doing its job, this mix of perfumes was good few metres from their blooms.The day would bode well.

With their petals outstretched to maximum,  and with bushes and stems flowered to absolute profusion, these were no longer the shy, soft  and slow emerging, first blooms of Spring.  Summer is about  attention seeking moments , with knowledge acquired from the past, and like the confidence of a flirtatious teenager, these flowers made no secret about the desire for indulgence.  Their eagerness was to be utterly seductive to the senses of the unsuspecting passers by. This was apparent, not just in the rising, bewitching aromatics.

The petallics from even from the shy, old fashioned wall loving  hollyhock, from last week to this week, post midsummer, has deepened into a glowing magenta concentrate.  Any six legged insect friends could not be more openly tempted to attend a nectar party up and down its stems.

On china blue sky days,  with  fluffy puffy clouds,  we now know that past midsummer, between the extremes of humidity, and dry heat, because of the changes in warm moisture and light, the season is racing against itself, impatient to intensify and enter its very best,  and being aware of such short-lived pleasure, we wonder “Why can’t Nature always be like summer days?”

Whilst grasses dry quickly and turns to straw, one remembers that to ensure the most fragrant offering of an elderflower potion, and possibly to mix subtly with new gooseberries, one must not forget to let the day turn to evening with love potions. Remember to pick the best when immersed in the warm sunlight of the day and pleasantly drowsy, nothing else will do.

Elderflower Love Potion

25 heads of elderflower, some closed ones

Immerse in freshly boiled water with orange and lemon zest

Cover overnight

Sieve and bottle the next morning with honey/sugar

Share with generousity, but use sparingly. Make cocktails, soft drinks or add to fruit salads. Use its bottled fragrance to remember the tender warm and fragrant days of summer, blue skies and green walks and in my case 26 years of being a mother. The labour was not a summer walk as I remember…but the end product was definitely intoxicating, a bed of baby was a very good result. Happy Birthday Oscar. Always keep love potions in a secret, well protected place.

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© 2015 La Floralie

97 Microcosm and the mollusc

From stem to rest,  a poppy petal must have thought it had found its final resting place. With lightest touch, as it laces its bed of leaves with its fading edge, it leaves the faintest imprint of memory and touch. Not allowed to quietly dissolve in the June rain, it then becomes the creative material for a shelled sculptor investigating  its own windows of opportunity. And voila, evolution, the fate of a poppy petal and an appetite create a whole new landscape.

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© 2015 La Floralie


96 Up close and personal

The physical attractiveness of some can be truly magnetic. Ranging from the typical classic beauty to particular qualities of the unusual and individual, the magnolia possesses highly contrasting aesthetics of appearance for Autumn and Summer, and this paradox proves to be the bedrock to its clock from season to season.

In Spring and early Summer, the blossoming beauty pushes hard through the unforgivingly ugly seedcasings of Winter. This flora is a form which contains both beauty and beast, Jekyll and Hyde. Feel its seasonal detailing and charisma by clicking on the images for a further close up and personal interaction with its changeable, but utterly engaging character.

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From the beguiling, carved eye sculptures from Winter,

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To softest facial hair and firm neck in Spring;

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With the dual appeal of petal soft complexion and 5’o clock growth or trendy beard,

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And perfectly formed pinked, blood rushed lips.

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Only on the most microscopic observation will one view the furry layer on the edges of our ear, and exciting ripples in petalled skin. All nuances for the strange powers of sensuality.

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Nature’s soft looks brings memories of youth and beauty, but in Winter years, when conversation of floating petals on the Spring and early Summer breeze finally ceases,  hardened flappers become the necessity of the cold season, deafest wood keeps the ancient secrets of evolution safe and sound. How can a plant manage to conserve its energy and proceed to alternate between the fresh face of blossom to a season of ageing and maturity? The vertebrates are not capable of this type of renewal and growth.

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With new warmth and light attention of Spring to Summer, the ageing process then appears harnessed. The tree flowers once again, and as it gets older, there are only more blossoms and it becomes even more beautiful, proving that with maturity, ageing can apparently bring with it more procreative energies and benefits……Well, well, well…..breathtaking alchemy indeed.

Hmmm…..Magnolia,…….through the seasons, hardiness, softness, energy, stillness, colour and power, wisdom and constancy – you could be my type of flora….

© 2015 La Floralie


95 The Uncut Spirit. A garden bouquet for Granny’s 112th birthday.

Lilian Audrey Mason born May 30 1903

Especially for my maternal grandmother. A bouquet with the living spirits of English wilderness, the uncut garden. Her character was that of May flowers – inwardly strong and outwardly soft. Her qualities: patience, kindness, generosity, humour, constancy, solidarity and  love. Her youth was in the giddy time of the Twenties flappers. She carried light luggage wherever she went, bringing brightness, calm, contentment, balance and immense respect and regard. Flowers may fade, but memories last.

From the English garden, here is apple blossom with a young deer in lushest grass,  buzzy bee in the azalea, mysterious magnolia,  funny face pansy and foliage from my mother’s walled garden, beautiful peony and unwrapping poppy.

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© 2015 La Floralie