The annual joy of blossom

For obvious reasons, the winter has felt extra cold and extra hard and extra dark this year. To me, this makes the spring feel sweeter and more sacred, and today I just want to celebrate that by sharing some of my photos of this season coming into fullness where I live, here in Reading.

blousy white cherry blossom blooms photographed with sunlight pouring through the paper thin petals

As in every previous year, the cherry blossoms in the Harris Gardens are beautiful beyond belief. Today we went and it was the busiest it’s ever been; our community seems to specially appreciate the annual magnificence of the blossom, this year.

a profusion of white cherry tree blossoms against a turbo deep blue sky

closeup of white cherry blossoms

closeup of pink cherry blossoms

a branch of cherry blossoms reaching out into the beautiful big blue sky

There is a large tree by the entrance of the garden, which always to me looks like the nicest place in the world to sit awhile…

A large white cherry blossom tree with shade beneath it and a vast canopy of white flowers

…and glorious yellow stands of daffodils on verges all over the campus…

bright yellow daffodils

…and today I espied a mystery tree with tiny flowers which have a sort of skirt of stamens. If anyone knows what these are, I would love to hear from you!

mystery tree with little stamen-skirted blossoms, glinting in the sun

I also found this Magnolia blossom, which I think looks like a firework or a star.

magnolia blossom opened out like a star - it's  variety with lots of little slender petals

At home in our garden, I am feeling grateful for the years we have been here, and the trees that we have planted along the way. I remember the Damson tree going in the ground around 2008? or maybe 2009? Just a little stick.
Now it looks like this…

blooming extravagance of Damson tree blossoms

more extravagant Damson blossoms

…and stands maybe ten or eleven feet off the ground.

The walnut tree has not come into bloom yet, but it’s got buds and is getting ready to TURBO. I remember when we planted this, too. A twig in a bag of mud, from a friend of Marks’ at work, over a decade ago. Now a towering beauty of a tree…

walnut tree with its silvery barky trunk

walnut tree branches reaching up into the sky

…and every year it grows, it gets more and more walnuts, of which we have fewer and fewer as the local squirrel population discover its bounty. I love this tree so much. And I’m happy I wrote about it in the KNITSONIK Stranded Colourwork Sourcebook and knitted from it for this swatch, because somehow the two things – the tree itself and the creative process which it inspired – amplify the joy and meaning that this tree holds in my life.

walnut-tree inspired swatch
Looking at my Walnut Tree to inspiration for stranded colourwork

I could say the same for the cherry blossoms in the Harris Gardens, which I celebrated in my Shawl in the Playbook…

Efflorescent cherry blossom shawl, hanging in the trees in the Harris Gardens

…and the Mulberry tree outside my studio, which is also featured in the Playbook.

Mulberry-tree-inspired knitting and Mulberry tree

Mulberry tree outside my studio

Today, taking photos of these familiar friends – the Damson, the Cherry trees, the Walnut, the Mulberry and so many others – I found myself feeling deeply moved by their enduring presence in my life. I am so thankful for the influence these trees exercise over my creativity, and for the affirming effect that recording their glorious lives in my knitting has had in terms of deepening my affinity and appreciation for their beauty, and grounding me in this place which we all share.

I feel like we’ve all been in hiding, waiting for hope and light, in blossoms and in stitches.


6 thoughts on “The annual joy of blossom

  1. I think the “mystery tree” is a box elder/ash-leaved maple (Acer negundo). Or it could be some ash species. In either case those would be male flowers.

    1. Ah you star – just run a search on “Acer Negundo” and you’re absolutely right! Thanks so much for clearing up the mystery!

      1. My pleasure! I stopped working as a gardener 25 years ago but still cannot resist a botanical mystery…
        Wish you all the best and an abundance of joy and spring flowers!

  2. It all looks so lovely this time of the year and your photos do it justice. I’m always saying I will go th the Harris garden but never got there, so that’s my challenge for this year. I could even walk to it which makes it worse for not having been. Take care love Mary (cousin) xx

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