This time of year is perfect to stimulate the senses and gain inspiration for new paintings from my garden. Here in South Australia, the days are gradually becoming warmer as we emerge from the throes of winter. Spring did burst forth with a couple of tantalisingly brilliant sun-filled days but then it was cold again. It was warm enough for flowers to start budding and I’ve been noticing them emerge tentatively.
First, the nectarine tree shyly displayed the odd spot of muted colour then suddenly revealed its breathtaking dress of glorious pink. Every time I glance outside it compels my gaze. Then elsewhere in the garden, one lily unfurled its tightly wrapped creamy petal out of a horde of lush green leaves. I watched its lone existence hoping there would be more to come. And soon joining this trailblazer was a group of lilies so expertly arranged, there was no need to cut them and put them in a vase. They had artfully prepared themselves and graced the garden so perfectly it felt like it must be by some superior design.
Over the weeks I’ve been watching the echium prepare itself to flower. This shrub pours all its efforts into looking the best it can in spring. The flowers raise themselves up like warriors presenting their spears; the muted sage green a welcome counterpoint to the lime green of nearby agapanthus leaves. Just when it seems there will only be this sea of green, tiny purple explosions of colour erupt and each spear eventually fulfils its fecund purpose attracting a few busy bees.
I’ve now turned my attention to the acanthus plants whose flower fronds have thrust torch like out of decorative leaves chewed into lacy swirls by very hungry caterpillars. Eventually, they’ll attract hovering bees when their thistly segments open to reveal tiny white petals which will ignite into full flower.
Then there’s the delicate quince blossom sitting at the back of the garden. The tree delivers the most brutish looking fruit but at this time of year it is covered with pretty corps de ballet dancing in the breeze; their green tutus ripple and white flower heads nod in unison.
It’s all too breathtaking really and I haven’t even had to leave the house! Hopefully, I’ll find time to paint some of these beauties.