ROMANTIC LADY OF SHALOTT . . . A DAVID AUSTIN ROSE

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I have a Camelot garden.  In it grows a  gorgeous rose of such fragrance and beauty the  very stars  look down in envy.    Its beckoning orange-red buds open to form  a magnificent chalice-shaped bloom.  A rose that perhaps long ago would have graced King Arthur’s table.  My Lady of  Shalott rose, an important rose because it was a Mother’s Day Gift and the rose that adorned a family wedding.

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There she weaves by night and day a magic web with colours gay.”  Each perfect rose petal blushes salmon pink  then quietly reveals a secret  that unfolds to golden yellow.    This Lady of Shalott rose has an old-fashioned  fragrance that conjurers up  thoughts of  exotic tea  spiced with cloves and apples.

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The Lady of Shalott is a fairy tale  rose.  Early morning I visit my Camelot garden and gather a  bouquet of roses.   And every morning  the rose bush is covered once again with more sweet roses.  If your soul yearns for romance  whisper the words LADY OF SHALOTT ROSES by David Austin  and the glorious days of Camelot will enter your garden.

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The very, very best part of this unique rose is –  it is simple-to-grow.    It is highly resistant to disease and blooms with unusual continuity.  It is low maintenance  and will bloom from early spring until frost. It’s highly recommended for rose beds and border.  It would be spectacular in a flower bed with deep blue flowers.  It can be trained against a wall or trellis  or  planted in large pots and containers.  It loves full sun or a little shade.  If you are an inexperienced  gardener you will adore this  Lady of Shalott David Austin rose.

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The Lady of Shalott was a popular l9th century  ballad inspired by Arthurian legend.  It was written by Alfred, Lord Tennyson.    Reading this poem one discovers the  words and phrases that inspired the naming of this old-fashioned rose .

THE LADY OF SHALLOT  …  Alfred, Lord Tennyson.

On either side the river lie
Long fields of barley and of rye,
That clothe the wold and meet the sky;
And thro’ the field the road runs by
To many-tower’d Camelot;
And up and down the people go,
Gazing where the lilies blow
Round an island there below,
The island of Shalott

Willows whiten, aspens quiver,
Little breezes dusk and shiver
Thro’ the wave that runs for ever
By the island in the river
Flowing down to Camelot.
Four grey walls, and four grey towers,
Overlook a space of flowers,
And the silent isle imbowers
The Lady of Shalott.

By the margin, willow veil’d
Slide the heavy barges trail’d
By slow horses; and unhail’d
The shallop flitteth silken-sail’d
Skimming down to Camelot:
But who hath seen her wave her hand?
Or at the casement seen her stand?
Or is she known in all the land,
The Lady of Shalott?

Only reapers, reaping early
In among the bearded barley,
Hear a song that echoes cheerly
From the river winding clearly,
Down to tower’d Camelot:
And by the moon the reaper weary,
Piling sheaves in uplands airy,
Listening, whispers “‘Tis the fairy
Lady of Shalott.”

Part II

There she weaves by night and day
A magic web with colours gay.
She has heard a whisper say,
A curse is on her if she stay
To look down to Camelot.
She knows not what the curse may be,
And so she weaveth steadily,
And little other care hath she,
The Lady of Shalott.

And moving thro’ a mirror clear
That hangs before her all the year,
Shadows of the world appear.
There she sees the highway near
Winding down to Camelot:
There the river eddy whirls,
And there the surly village-churls,
And the red cloaks of market girls,
Pass onward from Shalott.

Sometimes a troop of damsels glad,
An abbot on an ambling pad,
Sometimes a curly shepherd-lad,
Or long-hair’d page in crimson clad,
Goes by to tower’d Camelot;
And sometimes thro’ the mirror blue
The knights come riding two and two:
She hath no loyal knight and true,
The Lady of Shalott.

But in her web she still delights
To weave the mirror’s magic sights,
For often thro’ the silent nights
A funeral, with plumes and lights,
And music, went to Camelot:
Or when the moon was overhead,
Came two young lovers lately wed;
“I am half sick of shadows,” said
The Lady of Shalott.

Part III

A bow-shot from her bower-eaves,
He rode between the barley-sheaves,
The sun came dazzling thro’ the leaves,
And flamed upon the brazen greaves
Of bold Sir Lancelot.
A red-cross knight for ever kneel’d
To a lady in his shield,
That sparkled on the yellow field,
Beside remote Shalott.

The gemmy bridle glitter’d free,
Like to some branch of stars we see
Hung in the golden Galaxy.
The bridle bells rang merrily
As he rode down to Camelot:
And from his blazon’d baldric slung
A mighty silver bugle hung,
And as he rode his armour rung,
Beside remote Shalott.

All in the blue unclouded weather
Thick-jewell’d shone the saddle-leather,
The helmet and the helmet-feather
Burn’d like one burning flame together,
As he rode down to Camelot.
As often thro’ the purple night,
Below the starry clusters bright,
Some bearded meteor, trailing light,
Moves over still Shalott.

His broad clear brow in sunlight glow’d;
On burnish’d hooves his war-horse trode;
From underneath his helmet flow’d
His coal-black curls as on he rode,
As he rode down to Camelot.
From the bank and from the river
He flash’d into the crystal mirror,
“Tirra lirra,” by the river
Sang Sir Lancelot.

She left the web, she left the loom,
She made three paces thro’ the room,
She saw the water-lily bloom,
She saw the helmet and the plume,
She look’d down to Camelot.
Out flew the web and floated wide;
The mirror crack’d from side to side;
“The curse is come upon me,” cried
The Lady of Shalott.

Part IV

In the stormy east-wind straining,
The pale yellow woods were waning,
The broad stream in his banks complaining,
Heavily the low sky raining
Over tower’d Camelot;
Down she came and found a boat
Beneath a willow left afloat,
And round about the prow she wrote
The Lady of Shalott.

And down the river’s dim expanse –
Like some bold seer in a trance,
Seeing all his own mischance –
With a glassy countenance
Did she look to Camelot.
And at the closing of the day
She loosed the chain, and down she lay;
The broad stream bore her far away,
The Lady of Shalott.

Lying, robed in snowy white
That loosely flew to left and right –
The leaves upon her falling light –
Thro’ the noises of the night
She floated down to Camelot:
And as the boat-head wound along
The willowy hills and fields among,
They heard her singing her last song.
The Lady of Shalott.

Heard a carol, mournful, holy,
Chanted loudly, chanted lowly,
Till her blood was frozen slowly,
And her eyes were darken’d wholly,
Turn’d to tower’d Camelot.
For ere she reach’d upon the tide
The first house by the water-side,
Singing in her song she died
The Lady of Shalott.

Under tower and balcony,
By garden-wall and gallery,
A gleaming shape she floated by,
Dead-pale between the houses high,
Silent into Camelot.
Out upon the wharfs they came,
Knight and burgher, lord and dame.
And round the prow they read her name,
The Lady of Shalott.

Who is this? and what is here?
And in the lighted palace near
Died the sound of royal cheer;
And they cross’d themselves for fear,
All the knights at Camelot:
But Lancelot mused a little space;
He said, “She has a lovely face;
God in his mercy lend her grace.
The Lady of Shalott.”

 

 
 

 

 

 

JAPANESE TREE PEONIES – the brightest star in the garden

Once upon a time (all good stories begin with once upon a time)  many centuries ago a delicate tree grew in China.

The flowers on this tree were so magnificent, so unusual only the Emperor of China was allowed to possess a tree peony.

These  tree peonies would live up to one hundred years, but  they could never be moved for they would die.

Beauty such as this could not be held captive by one man.

In the eighth century the royal court of China shared these blossoms with Japan.

Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote “if the stars should appear but one night every thousand years how man would marvel and stare”.

Truly the Japanese Tree Peony is the star in this garden.    Blossoms,  heavy with fragrance and the size of dinner plate, fill one with rapturous, delirious delight.

One can only stand

and stare

and marvel.

 

VIOLETS IN THE SNOW

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(women holding a violet nosegay – William Worcester Churchill)

It was at  this time of year I was in San Francisco for the first time.  Desperate to brighten a bitter cold prairie winter  I returned home with a nosegay of violets.  I had wrapped them in damp paper.  Tucked them into a plastic bag.  And kept them safe inside my warm coat.   While outside a Saskatchewan blizzard howled and raged my room was fragrant with my tiny bouquet.  For me San Francisco will always be about flowers and the tiny violets that gave me such pleasure.

Each violet peeps from it dwelling to gaze at the bright stars above.

The eyes of spring, so azure are peeping from the ground;

They are the darling violets, that I in nosegays bound. (h.heine 1856)

 

 

 

And shade the violets, that they may bind the moss in leafy nets. (john keats)

 

Deep violets, you liken to the kindest  eyes that look on you, without a thought disloyal    (elizabeth barret browning)

 

Cold blows the wind against the hill, and cold upon the plain;

  I sit by the bank until the violets come again.

Here sat we when the grass was set

With violets shining through,

And leafy branches spread a net

To hold a sky of blue.

(richard garnet)

 

BURIED TREASURE

The late afternoon warmed the soil.   Overhead  skeins of geese flew in military formation heading for the sanctuary of the bog.

She gathered the digging tools – a hand rake and a well-used  trowel its broken metal handle replaced with one of wood.

A bag of bone meal.

An ancient wicker basket filled with tulip bulbs.

She dug in the glorious jewel colours – ruby reds, shimmery pearl whites, peridot greens. diamond yellows.

Then gently.  Lovingly.  Happily patted the earth safely over the buried treasure.

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To be discovered.

 

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with cries of joy.

 

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In anticipation of spring.

 

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STATELY BEAUTY

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It was her custom to visit the garden in the early hours.

To watch the sun turn the mountains  violet blue

And glory in the quiet elegance of the morning.

 

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It was her custom to visit the garden in the early hours.

To watch her lily reach toward the sun.

To grow and grow and grow in stately beauty.

 

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It was her custom to visit the garden in the early morning.

To take possession of her flowers.

Instead she put her silver secateurs  aside

And left the lily for all to share its stately beauty.

 

 

HATCH YOUR DREAMS

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Thoughts,

Rest your wings.

Here is a hollow of silence,

A nest of stillness in which to hatch your dreams.

(Joan Walsh Anglund)

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Through the dark, foggy night the fog horns bayed their soulful warnings.

Quietly at first.

From far away down river.

Louder and louder and more demanding as the ocean bound ship slowly, slipped up the river to the sea.

Then the shadowy sounds drifted quietly away.

In this hollow of silence.

This nest of stillness.

I dream of spring.

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Of  soft,  warm gentle days.

Of flowers of exuberant beauty.

I dream.  I dream.  I dream.

Of Summer.

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(Joan Walsh Anglund is an American inspiration writer and speaker)

THE GARLIC HARVEST

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In the garden the air is heavy with the scent of garlic;

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garlic and the earthy aroma of  the freshly turned soil;

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garlic mingles with the fragrance of basil and oregano brushed against as we  dig  treasure from the ground.

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The deep heady smell of garlic surrounds us.

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Garlic to add  to salads;

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garlic to burnish the flavour of a fat chicken;

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magnificent whole cloves of garlic  roasted creamy and thick;

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A little red wagon load of Russian Red Garlic to take us through the long winter months.

Here are some  wonderful things you will want to do with roasted garlic  TEN THINGS TO DO WITH ROASTED GARLIC.

UNEXPECTED GIFTS

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Gifts on birthdays, Christmas, anniversaries, weddings … those are expected gifts.

But, the most wondrous of gifts are those that arrived unexpectedly.

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Someone was vigorously ringing the old-fashioned cast iron bell.

The door was filled flowers – side to side,  towering above me.

Gorgeous gladioli.

A rich tapestry of Renaissance colors.

Gladioli – my birthday flower, but it wasn’t my birthday – yet.

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My gardening guru friend Dellis was sharing with me.

Tall, elegant,  grand gladioli.

Flowers  to fill  my home..

An unexpected gift.

The very, very best kind.

MORE BLOOMING CAMELLIAS

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I’m like a mother with a child.

Watching each bloom appear.

I count the blossoms

Like a child’s first steps.

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Then in the deepest, darkest night

the wind came.

Then rain.

They rattled and raged

at the windows.

My camellias

Oh my poor darlings.

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Early morning.

I crept out in my polka dot pajamas.

Just one.

The wind took just one.

You’re growing.

I count your blossoms in my sleep.

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