Memories of the garden, of fruit trees one grew up with, climbed and marked. The old Bramley (cooking apple) and the Cox's-Orange Pipin. They seemed so big and resistant then, like one's parents. With time they appear to be so much smaller, like little old, smiling ladies. Then the memories seem more remote and aerial, as if one were a giant looking down nostalgically on what would be its miniature, where everything is seen with one, sweeping glance.
But when you are small, it's the whole world. Each corner is a vast jungle where ants patrol like countless soldiers and where you can almost shelter under the rhubarb leaves. Small stones are boulders and the tiny, neat areas of moss in shady nooks, are opulent, miniature lawns.
And the little flag stone walls made for the flower beds, built with such love and patience, would then be great ramparts of endless, winding fortifications.
One especially remembers the sweet smell of the lawn freshly cut, the perfume of the peaches then the apples ripening in the sun, as well as the odour of those with maggots. The early morning song of the blackbirds, thrushes and the wood-pigeons on the roof, and the sight of grey squirrels sneaking across the dewy grass. The friendly winter robin that always appeared as though it had something important it wanted to convey to you.
The opulent, pink Rhododendron that seemed to smile in the circular bed around which we would run to avoid an angry mother wielding 'the wooden spoon', until she too would start to laugh.
Sweet memories that represent such precious, timeless and secure periods of one's life. A garden cultivated with care and devotion that is indeed part of our identity and history. A special place that remains within us all our lives, in a perfumed corner of our minds. It blossoms on, an immutable, heavenly haven.
Text and image © Mirino (PW) December, 2008