“Oh, to be in Chandler’s Ford / Now that April’s there.”
(Sorry about that misquote, Mr Browning.)
Recently someone told me that Chandler’s Ford had no soul. He went by the name of Mephistophilis on the chat site. I asked him to define soul but he declined.
The soul must be in the gardens. Now the snowdrops, crocus and daffodils are passed we are seeing camellia, magnolia, azalea and rhododendron with primroses, celandines and dandelions at ground level.
We have had the benefit of daphnia and sarcococca planted near the front door for their scents. Soon there will be carpets of bluebells. Lily of the valley and wood anemones. Later there will be roses, peonies and dahlias. Can there be a more attractive area for its flowers, shrubs and trees?
I have just cleared an area of garden of scrub and this weekend we will buy some new azalea to plant. Has anyone got favourite varieties? I like the scented yellow ones. We have a bright red one with blue iris around it.
Here is Robert Browning’s Home Thoughts, from Abroad read by Geoffrey Palmer:
Home Thoughts, From Abroad by Robert Browning
Oh, to be in England
Now that April’s there,
And whoever wakes in England
Sees, some morning, unaware,
That the lowest boughs and the brushwood sheaf
Round the elm-tree bole are in tiny leaf,
While the chaffinch sings on the orchard bough
In England – now!
And after April, when May follows,
And the whitethroat builds, and all the swallows!
Hark, where my blossomed pear-tree in the hedge
Leans to the field and scatters on the clover
Blossoms and dewdrops – at the bent
spray’s edge –
That’s the wise thrush; he sings each song
Lest you should think he never could recapture
The first fine careless rapture!
And though the fields look rough with hoary dew,
All will be gay when noontide wakes anew
The buttercups, the little children’s dower
– Far brighter than this gaudy melon-flower!