The artistry of gardens

“If we could see the miracle of a single flower clearly our whole life would change.”– Buddha

Irony: “a state of affairs or an event that seems deliberately contrary to what one expects and is often amusing as a result” (Oxford Languages)

As in, how ironic is it that someone who has no green thumb at all loves taking photos about flowers? Or maybe it’s cause and effect.

I’ve always had a love of flowers – no one ever had to tell me to stop and smell the roses. 

To me, flowers are Mother Nature’s paintings, and there’s no human artist who can rival Her. It’s one of the reasons I’m rather obsessed with taking pictures of them. I’m endlessly amazed at their tiniest details. And every garden is like a little piece of the original Eden, waiting for us to experience its magic.

I find walking along garden paths very soothing. It’s as if the gardens are in their own realm, separate from the hustle and bustle of the world around them. Once you enter them, you leave cares behind and give yourself into the hands of the sunshine, the breeze, the glorious blossoms that seem to say, ‘Here I am; look how beautiful life is.’

I’m very fortunate to live in an area full of fruit trees that blossom in early May. The masses of thick blossoms are only on show for a couple of weeks, so it’s tricky for visitors to time it just right, but for those of us who live here, we have only to drive a couple of miles outside the city into the rural areas to check on the progress.

Lilac gardens are multi-sensory, as much about the wonderful scents as the pretty panicles bobbing in the breeze. They invite strolling, sniffing each different variety’s unique aroma as you go, like clouds of delight on a branch. I can only imagine how captivating they must smell to bees and butterflies.

Wherever we travel, I try to visit a garden. They tell you a great deal about the place they’re located. You’ll find them in my writing because their contents speak volumes. When I’m writing, I look for ways to express an idea as succinctly as this wild orchid in the cloud forest in Peru. It has a subtle beauty – nothing that smacks you in the face, just sits there quietly and evocatively.

In Ireland my husband and I visited the magnificent garden at Powerscourt Estate. Its many moods revealed themselves as I wandered around with my camera – formally lovely near the manor house,

blowsy and almost pagan down by the lake,

serenely celebrating the glories of autumn in the Japanese Garden.

At Kylemore Abbey, on the west coast of Ireland, the garden has a job to do, producing fruit and vegetables, but still in the loveliest way possible.

This week I visited one of our local gardens, looking for signs of life after a cold winter. I was amazed by the variety of flowers bravely poking their heads up in our fickle early-spring weather. It was like a party thrown by Mother Nature herself to celebrate the change to a new season.

Gardens are special places for me. They calm my soul when it’s troubled or needs a pick-me-up. They give me a reason to get out of the house and get some exercise. The flowers and plants inspire me artistically — the way they express so much in a blossom, in its shadings, its complexity, in where it chooses to reveal itself. If you can look at the photo of the lilac earlier in the post and almost smell its aroma through your screen, or see such vivid detail in your mind’s eye through my writing, then I’ve done my job well.

Ultimately, flowers make me smile, and that is perhaps one of the greatest possible gifts.

“Earth laughs in flowers.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

All photos are by me, and all rights reserved.