Peak Yellow - seasonal musings
I once worked with a woman who hated yellow.
Pathologically hated it. She couldn't bear seeing the colour - in books or paintings, clothes or flowers. She would physically cringe back.
I never understood that - for yellow is the colour of Spring, the days getting longer, things beginning to grow.
Yellow is the colour of the turn of the year when life begins again. It is the sharp promise before we tumble into the froth of late spring.
The gorse is the first yellow - stumpy, spiky, punching its colour on the low slopes of the hills - it is an orange, yellow, almost neon in the sun. It speckles the verges all winter but explodes into abundance in April.
You can eat the flowers - and indeed they are so tightly clustered on the branches that they seem to be proffered to the travellers along the West Highland Way.
Yesterday, walking on the hills above Loch Lomond, I saw that the primroses are coming out to add their paler yellow. They grow in big papery clumps around the rivers that hurtle down the slopes, huddled near the water they seem to like being splashed - adventurous bees buzz round them dodging the water.
I don't grow many yellow things in the main garden - they scream too much into the foreground for me - but I do love to encourage yellow in the margins.
My main garden is bounded with high beech and hornbeam hedges and then there are wide gaps between this enclosure and the fields, woods and streams that surround us.
In the orchard that links the drive and the workshop I have planted lots of daffodils and they are gradually spreading out under the plum trees. Some are bright, small, bright jewels of flowers, others pale ghosts.
In the autumn, inspired by some I saw at Perch Hill, I plan to scatter the yellow species tulip Tulips sylvestris amongst them. Perhaps I will add in some fritillaria meleagris, with as many of the yellowy white sports as I can afford.
Down in the damp meadow - an area of ground that land slipped into swamp a few years ago - there is another yellow.
The area is too wet to walk on and is becoming a natural haven - the heron swoops over to look for frogs, the newts remain undisturbed. I do not know what else goes on there but the barn owl sweeps over each evening.
In May the whole site will be carpeted in king cups - a perfect sheet of gold that I can see from above.
That will be the last of the yellow - the wild flowers will change their hues to pinks and purples and white and we move into another season.
I love this move of natural colours from season to season - a subliminal rhythm, a feeling of just right. This morning I saw a new bird on the bird table - from where I was it looked as bright as a budgie, a clear, bright yellow - exotic amongst the sparrows and blue tits. A yellow hammer. Perfect for the scene and season.
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