The seed grows and the meadow blooms
And the wood springs anew,
Loudly sing, Cuckoo!
Been singing all day in this wonderful warmth. 13th century song written, prob, at Reading Abbey. The school there, already then two hundred years old, was supposed to be the same institution that I went to, if rather more recently. Anyway ‘Cuckooooo’
The picture is of one of the old apple trees in the Borders garden – when the property was three separate cottages, the boundaries between the three gardens attached to each seem to have been made by espalier fruit trees. The tree in the pic. has sawn off ‘ghost’ branches quite low down, where once horizontals must have been. Another tree, early fruiting, deepest red apples, marks the entry to the ruined cottage No 3, now just the walls of my micro-kitchen garden. A third tree we took down because it closed off the view of the hills.
All the new trees we’ve planted have been ‘antique’ (‘heritage’ if you are in the US) varieties, and all are just going over their flowering in this great warmth, so a drift of falling petals – all except a supposedly ancient Roman variety now called ‘Court Plat Pendu’, a crabbit thing and refuses to flower except at the very last moment for pollination.
But the honeysuckles are starting, pale grey-mauve lilacs behind Dionysus, the Scots roses too, and lovely pale ‘Mme Alfred Carriere’ on the kitchen gable. By the old blue seat, surrounded by wild strawberries in flower, the last of the perennial honesty (Lunaria redivia), which is, for me, almost the most lovely perfume of the swift vanishing spring.
Sumer is icumen in,
Lhude sing cuccu!
Groweþ sed and bloweþ med
And springþ þe wde nu,