Warm wishes for Winter and a Peaceful 2018
(You can see these wonderful Allendale horses pull the plough on Instagram @lindafrancebooksandplants…I’m afraid it’s not possible to upload them here…A glory.)
Also known as Japanese briar, saltspray rose, beach rose, potato rose and Turkestan rose.
The white variety Rosa rugosa ‘Alba’ is now in bloom in my garden and doing much better than usual after a spell without any cows in the field next door. On Sunday my friend Cesare from Milan and I were inspecting the more common deep pink variety up at Harnham and pondering the rugosa part of its name. The Latin means ‘wrinkled’ but although the petals have an unironed quality, they’re more dishevelled than actually creased or wrinkled.
It eventually occurred to me that perhaps it was/is the leaves that were/are rugosa – quite deeply lined, much more textured than other varieties of rose. It seems to make sense. Strange to notice how this new insight about a plant I’ve loved for a very long time has made it come alive in a new way for me, freshening my intimacy with it. And that’s all before I even mention the smell…These past few warm days the garden’s been a veritable bowl of sweetness.
…Information regarding Capability Brown’s 300th birthday celebrations
CAPABILITY BROWN AT KIRKHARLE – SUMMER 2016 – RENGA
Brown’s contract with the Earl of Scarborough for his work at Roche Abbey in Yorkshire included the clause that his proposals should proceed ‘with Poet’s feeling and with Painter’s Eye’. It is therefore particularly fitting to hold poetry sessions in two of Brown’s beautiful Northumberland landscapes, Kirkharle and Rothley. All three sessions will be based in a medieval pavilion put up overlooking the Kirkharle lakes and Rothley Low Lake.
Award winning poet Linda France will run three Renga sessions this summer.
The collaborative renga process will introduce participants to a classical Japanese tradition, which encourages greater attunement to the landscape and the natural world, as well as to our own relationship with them. It will help participants to recognise and appreciate the ‘capabilities’ in the landscape that Brown wanted to bring out. The resulting poems will be made available on the website and so will broaden others’ experience of the landscape, providing a snapshot of the spirit of the place at a particular time on a particular day, a palimpsest of Brown’s own vision.
All at £8 each, 10.30am to 4pm. To book a place, please contact Nick Owen (firstname.lastname@example.org). Please bring exact money and pay on the day. Bring picnic lunch/flask/blanket, as well as wear sensible shoes.
It all sounds wonderful and they have a gazebo tent for us so even the weather needn’t be a problem. I’m going up to Kirkharle on Sunday to have a look around with an eye to creating the schema for the renga. An interesting focus with Capability Brown as our Muse…
At the beginning you are advised to ignore those mosses growing on trees or stone for they ask something different
A moss should behave a certain way but doesn’t always
You realise that adjectives like ‘straight’ and ‘curved’ are not reliable, just a matter of perspective
Mosses have a very thin cuticle, are absorbent on all surfaces
You can observe a species with the naked eye, look more closely with a handlens or at
the level of cells through a microscope – ever deepening attention
Some mosses have a nerve
Their names are tongue twisters – all hail teachers of Latin!
Mosses lend themselves to metaphor – imaginative ways to describe and remember them (for example, overheard: Denis Healey’s eyebrows, teddy bears’ arms, Catherine wheels)
Desiccated moss can be brought back to life by immersing in liquid
Looking at mosses for a long time transports you to another world – one where scale is nothing if not elastic
The fascinations endless, the discoveries universe-expanding
Moss sometimes grows on exposed bones
When you look at a landscape and say there’s nothing there, there will be mosses
You will lose all track of time
Hard to know where to start trying to give an account of this week’s wonderful Mosses & Liverworts field study course, run by Northumberland Wildlife Trust and led by John O’Reilly. We were based at Knarsdale Village Hall near Alston and went out to sites at Lambley Viaduct and Williamston Nature Reserve. After two days we were able to identify around twenty or so common bryophyte species – out of the 800 mosses and 300 liverworts found in the UK. If flowers are often overlooked, bryophytes are seriously neglected. It was deeply satisfying taking the time to learn how to see them. I am already planning regular moss walks to make sure that I keep practising this new language.
Just returned home from a wonderful trip to Glasgow where there seemed to be flowers everywhere we went…
at the Tramway’s beautiful hidden gardens
and the lovely Botanics
in Kibble Palace
to this – my new collection! Hooray! Spring is here!
as if the world could be different – an avenue of budding branches
the upturned boat a sarcophagus for the corpse of winter
siestaing swans – necks wrapped across their backs
water’s gentle glissando as a man takes his reflection for a walk
a child’s drawing of flowers – bright celandines
on the island a female goosander shows off her elegant profile
inside this lake a smaller lake – patch of blue sky
who will teach me how to hold these incongruities?
small insects motes of dust tickling my face
this is what nothing looks like – liquid fullness
last year’s willowherb scrawny and bedraggled
the boardwalk a wooden snake winding nowhere
behind my eyes penicillin blue pomegranate red
planes of light glancing off the lake’s stillness
an ache in the day the way bones ache where they were broken
is it enough to say rosehip? my shadow walking?
grubby necks under water the swans are two fat pillows floating
not a lonely place – a lonely month – back-to-back faces
I try to find a corner round a lake which has none
wind engraves its secret formula on your gunmetal surface
the sort of weather broom is built for – waxed rumours of leaves
an eyeful of fieldfares cast loose in the implacable sky
I want to be more here and less here in a finger-click
this bench dedicated to a child who died after ten years in the world
so cold a flask of coffee can’t warm me
swan wings working like an engine trying to ignite
slowly I feel the real in my finger ends
what should be done by one who’s skilled in goodness and knows the way to peace