Our Junior Miss celebrated her first birthday recently, and I have been remembering the walk we did last year, when she was only a few weeks old, around the Rookery on Streatham Common – which ended up being the subject of one of my early blogs.
At the time, that walk was a novelty, partly as I was spending so much time in a fug of tiredness, holed up at home with a newborn, and partly because it was such a cold, wet spring. Going outside, full stop, seemed like a medal-worthy achievement at that point.
Now, things feel very different. Junior Miss and I are regularly to be found traipsing round our local parks, and days when we don’t leave the house at all are rare indeed.
I can look back on those early days with a mixture of nostalgia of all those precious newborn baby snuggles – the bits when I wasn’t standing outside Tesco crying or sitting in cafes watching the rain pour down – and relief that we have come so far.
Unbelievably, and wonderfully, I now have an actual human child to share my favourite places with, and I can begin to watch her growing enjoyment of plants, gardens and the great outdoors (though her experience of communing with nature seems mainly confined to pulling the heads off flowers and trying to eat mud, so far).
So, recently, we went back to the Rookery and I was delighted to see it in even better bloom than last year – looking fresh and invigorated despite the unpromising spring we’ve had. NB: It’s actually the centenary of the Rookery this year, with lots of celebratory events going on, so that probably explains why it’s looking so spruce.
Cherry blossoms had drifted along the edges of the path – not perhaps on the scale of Japan or Washington DC, but very romantic-looking.
The pink forget-me-nots I admired so much last year were back – but now with added contrast of tall tulips dotted through the masses of pink. I’d never dare to try and put hot orange with pink, but doesn’t it look great here?
I’m also not usually a fan of the dark purple tulips – they always seem a bit try-hard trendy gardener to me, (and they seem to be everywhere this year, so purple tulip must be very on-trend in 2013, hem hem), but I quite liked them here, against the pink.
Lovely apple blossom – I love the bright pink of the buds before they open, in comparison to the pale blush shades of the blossoms, and the glorious fresh green of the leaves.
View back towards the forget-me-not bed, through a pergola.
The Rookery even has a White Garden of its own, just like the more famous one at Sissinghurst…but I’ve now discovered that the Rookery’s is apparently older than Sissinghurst’s!
Finally, on the way home, I found another bed of tulips and forget-me-nots, in a nearby front garden. Isn’t the combination of blue forget-me-nots with yellow tulips just fabulous?
It’s a similar, but more sophisticated version of the dandelion-and-forget-me-not mash-up I was admiring recently, and it reminded me that my own, rather haphazard front garden is somewhat lacking on the forget-me-not front.
The delicate blue haze makes such a pleasing backdrop for more dramatic plants, I must try to shoe-horn some in somewhere – or even better, wait for it to drift over from a neighbouring garden, in true lazy gardener style.