Weekends have once more become full-on gardening weekends. Preparing the garden for spring has become a race against time. With hedges, fruit trees, roses and herbs pruned, the feeding and composting has begun in earnest.
|A Swee Waxbill|
Watering the orchard manually, forces me to slow down. There is the spectacle of nasturtiums on the orchard floor and a variety of peach, plum and almond blossoms against the blue sky, to be enjoyed.
I am quite surprised by the number of bees still visiting our orchard at a time when the entire valley is a feast of blossoming orchards. Perhaps it is less crowded and the assortment of blossoms in close proximity, more appealing.
With the blossoms comes new life. Some peach trees are showing their tiny buds of fruit. Many an artist portrays new life and youth with blossoms, while others use it to reflect a nostalgia for a fading rural past.
It was in 1888, in Provence, that Vincent van Gogh began his most productive period of his painting career. It is said that the blossoming apricot, peach and plum trees inspired him. And, in this time he nearly completed one painting each day on the subject matter.
I completely understand how he must have felt. I too am excited by our small orchard in blossom, what to say of the larger orchards of Provence.
|Almond Blossoms - Vincent van Gogh - 1890 (Van Gogh Museum- Amsterdam)|
|Peach Blossoms - Winslow Homer - 1878 (Art Institute of Chicago)|
The blossoms remind me of so many orchards of my youth. It evokes a nostalgia for an uncomplicated time. I wonder what Homer would have thought about our rapidly changing rural landscape.
On a clear winter’s day, I enjoyed the luxury of standing in our orchard with water rushing into the dams of the fruit trees. I could watch how the activities of the bees made the silk like petals drop to the orchard floor to form festive polka dot patterns in their abundance.