flowers and the power of a painting
My dahlias have finished for the season and I’m already thinking about how I can re-do their bed to allow for better access and more varieties later this year. That will involve removing and storing all the existing tubers, clearing the bed of the cursed kikuyu grass that refuses to stay where it should and, the best part of all, anticipating the arrival of dahlia catalogues.
There’s something about a plant catalogue, isn’t there? All the flowers included are photographed when they are at their best – no droopy or nibbled blooms on display. It seduces us to think our flowers will be just as healthy and attractive and to imagine how glorious they will look in our gardens. It works, of course, though I only buy bulbs and tubers from mail-order suppliers. I buy live plants from local nurseries.
My thoughts now turn to tulips. I have a large bag of bulbs in my pantry, ready for planting in May. I’ve opted for simple, clear colours this year, to add to the fancy varieties I’ve planted in previous years. It’s lucky I already have my bulbs because otherwise I may have been tempted to buy different types after seeing the astonishing flowers in Floret’s favourite specialty tulips guide. Just look at the cover!
It’s a free guide – download it here.
It seems I’ve gone all flowery this week, so let me tell you a story about something different – how I fell in love with a painting.
Some years ago, I went to the Art Gallery of NSW with a group of friends. It was one of our excursions where we were open to the creativity of other people. No expectations, with no specific outcomes in mind.
I didn’t make it past the first area of the gallery for a long time. As I entered, I saw a huge painting that lured me closer. I stared at it for so long and felt such a strong sense that my life had changed.
After I read the caption, I realised it was inevitable that painting would capture me. It was Five Bells by John Olsen, inspired by the poem of the same name by Kenneth Slessor. The poem had long been one of my favourites. I then saw more of John Olsen’s work and became a devoted admirer.
Fast forward to this week, when we visited Ngununggula, a nearby gallery that currently has an exhibition of some of John Olsen’s paintings. Five Bells isn’t there but the paintings on display are magnificent.
I love a good magazine cover. The purpose of a fabulous cover is to make you pick up the magazine and look at it and then, hopefully, decide to purchase it. I rarely buy print magazines but read dozens a month in digital versions (free from my local library through the Libby app) but great covers still wow me.
The latest issue of The Simple Things has a stunning cover. It’s probably the huge bouquet of flowers that I respond to but still, what a beauty! Oh, and this title is always full of interesting, positive stories. And don’t we all need some of those in our lives?
Have a lovely week.
This weekly newsletter is written by me, Erica Spinks, so I can share stories about books, gardens and quilts with you.