Wednesday, 20 October 2010

In the Garden

Just before I went away in June, I said to my mother, 'The one thing I'm sad about is missing the camellias.' They'd just started flowering and I thought they'd be finished before my return. They weren't, of course. They were still going when I got back a month later. I headed off to Melbourne a few weeks after that and, when I got back from there, the camellias were still blazing away. Then I left again, this time for three weeks. Sure enough, I came home to find masses of colourful camellias still appearing every day.

Meanwhile, the banksia rose remained unimpressive, a collection of leafy stems arching over our bedroom window. Only this Friday did it condescend to let a single flower emerge, high up among its foliage. The next day two more appeared. On Sunday, there were over a dozen. At last today when I got back from work I saw that it was covered in a mass of tiny buttery yellow blooms.

Banksia roses are not flowers that can be picked and enjoyed indoors. They don't have proper stems and anyway they last only a matter of days. The plant is, to quote a disparaging former neighbour, 'just a one-week wonder.' Which is precisely why I prize it so perversely. The luscious but long lasting camellia has not exactly outstayed its welcome, but it has made itself familiar and reliable. The banksia rose's arrival will always be a fleeting treat. Before you have a chance to even start to get bored with it, it vanishes.

And, of course, when the banksia's finished, I'll still have the steady, faithful camellias. Day by day, they will loyally unfold new blooms. There will be the pure white ones, the double petalled creamy yellow ones and the bright silky pink ones. They will all be beautiful, but that will make no difference. I'll be hankering after the one-week wonders. Although less spectacular, they have the seductive attraction of being quickly gone.

10 comments:

  1. I do believe that we have some pretty weeds, but I am useless, and clueless, about such matters. Can we swap gardens please?

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  2. Yes, but you can't have my gardener

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  3. Love your justification for one-week wonders. Even if my little camellia does absolutely nothing one year to the next I still have my lovely banksia rose (which I am going out right now to photograph while the sun is on it and its week isn't yet up!)

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  4. Whispering - I'm going to go and say sorry to my camellias

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  5. I feel the same about the orange blossom. Only around for a couple of weeks at most but a simply glorious experience for the eyes and nose.

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  6. Is that that nice shrub called mock orange, Gaw? If so, it smells beautiful - the banksia doesn't have a scent but it is more showy, while it's out.

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  7. I hope you did zmkc, cos I photographed my banksia rose - and while doing so got the first whiff of our jasmine.

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  8. Whispering - I can't remember such a wonderful spring

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  9. I didn't know its proper name but, having looked it up, you're right it's mock orange, in Latin Philadelphus Virginal.

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  10. Hurray, I shall be running a gardening programme on the telly before you can say something horticultural and Latin with a knife word somewhere within it.

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