Friday, 29 June 2007

From My Garden Of Memories.

The month of June at Barleycorn brings out the rich colours of the oriental and annual poppies, bursting forth with more than a dash of brilliance amid the muted tones in the garden. They seem to create a kind of midsummer madness with their intoxicating vibrant colours, as well as exuding an air of exuberant joy, which makes me think of them as the hallelujah chorus of the garden.
As I stroll around, camera in hand, trying to capture the unparalleled beauty of the different varieties of poppy - some with sunlight streaming through their petals, others after a shower of rain - I am aware that poppies, in particular, have an immediate impact on my sense of wellbeing, as they trigger so many heightened memories.
Each of us, I would suggest, has a ‘heart’ book, where we write the names of those who have influenced us to a greater or lesser degree. I regard those who have had the greatest influence in my life as heroes. In my immediate family, one such person, who always had my best interests at heart throughout his life, was my beloved brother.
Born with the gift of a sunny disposition, he had charm and charisma, both of which enabled him to get on famously with everyone with whom he came into contact during his life. Each day he greeted the world with a smile and a wave.

Although he had a strong artistic ability, not only evident in his drawing skills but also in his beautiful garden, he was also well-known for his skills on the dance floor, making him popular at family gatherings, weddings, and, in his younger days, the local Palais de Dance.

Though my dad, and my grandfather before him, had encouraged my interest in gardening, it was my brother who became my greatest inspiration, because he demonstrated first-hand all the practical steps, when, as a young woman, I took ownership of my first garden.
Whether he was showing me how to take heel cuttings and when to use rooting powder, or demonstrating the art of pruning roses correctly, or dividing plants with two forks back to back, or advising on the correct depth at which to plant bulbs, or encouraging me to think of foliage as well as flowers when choosing plants, nothing was too much effort for him.
Not solely a loving brother to me, he and my husband developed a great rapport, teasing each other with brotherly banter, and, later he became a much-loved uncle to our two young sons, who would run to show him their latest book or toy, and climb up, one on either knee, each vying for his attention.
During the weekends when he came to dinner, we often spent happy times walking round the garden enjoying each other’s company while discussing the merits of favourite plants and flowers. Occasionally, amidst whoops of laughter from my husband and our boys, he would suddenly sweep me off my feet, waltzing me round and round the garden, while I’d add to the fun by singing the lyrics of ‘Stardust’ to accompany our dancing.

I value those precious times spent with my brother, wandering arm-in-arm along the poppy walk, stopping to comment on how the double-petalled oriental poppies resembled the skirts of Spanish dancers, or marvelling at the contrast in colour between the pink, red, white and inky black of the double-headed peony poppies. Memories of those halcyon days are indelibly imprinted in my mind.
Some people seem to generate love and kindness to those whom they meet along life’s highways and byways, as in the story of the Good Samaritan, and that seemed to be the raison d’etre for my brother’s life.
Several years ago, on his way homewards, tragedy struck when he lost his life at the hands of unscrupulous men, and died in mysterious circumstances. At the time I thought I’d never smile again, as my world had diminished greatly, having lost my only loving brother, precious, not only to me, but also, to everyone in our family and to his many friends.
The greatest thing I learned from his loving example was, that, no matter how important we think our hobbies and interests are, people must always come first, for they matter most in life.
The love we experience from those who are most precious in our lives, is worth the pain of losing them; for those we love, and lose in this life, in a sense, never really leave us, for their memory lives in our hearts forever.

And now the purple dust of twilight time, Steals across the meadows of my heart
Now the little stars, the little stars pine, Always reminding me that we're apart
You wander down the lane and far away, Leaving me a love that cannot die
Love is now the stardust of yesterday, The music of the years gone by.

Sometimes I wonder why I spend the lonely nights
Dreaming of a song, That melody haunts my reverie
And I am once again with you
When our love was new, And each kiss an inspiration
Ah, but that was long ago, Now my consolation

Is in the stardust of a song
Beside a garden wall, Where stars are bright
You are in my arms, That nightingale tells its fairy tale
of paradise where roses grew
Though I dream in vain, In my heart it will remain

my stardust melody, The memory of love's refrain.
Ah, but that was long ago, Now my consolation
Is in the stardust of a song
Beside a garden wall, Where stars are bright
You are in my arms, That nightingale tells its fairy tale

of paradise where roses grew
Though I dream in vain, In my heart it will remain

my stardust melody, The memory of love's refrain.
Lyrics by Hoagy Carmichael.


Z said...

I love Hoagy Carmichael and poppies, and they are fabulous pictures.

I'm so sorry to hear about your brother - please, will you tell me his name? A name means so much when you think about a person.

martin said...

Your brother sounds like he was a great bloke. And what great pictures. I saw some roses in Switzerland in a monk's garden.

Sandy said...

What ...what..I'm almost speechless...and teary eyed...This was wonderful, the tribute, the story about your brother, the flowers, "Stardust" which is one of my all time favorite songs ...Beautiful. I think I need to go direct people to share in this tribute. sandy

Blackswamp_Girl said...

What a lovely, wonderful tribute... and using the ever-cheerful, beautiful, strong yet somehow delicate poppies to accompany it is so fitting.

Wanda said...

I found you through Sandy's link. What a beautiful tribute, what lovely flowers, and to add the song Stardust.....I too, felt deeply moved.
God Bless you dear.

BJ said...

This is just so beautiful. I'm filled with emotion from the beauty of it. What a wonderful tribute to your brother and the picture show of poppies to go with it. Thank you so much for sharing this. I came through Sandy's link. You are very special indeed. God bless.

Sally said...

Beautiful... and perfect.

Sheila said...

That your brother was a big part of your life is evident, and the hole that was left with his loss cannot be imagined. Your poppies and the words of Hoagy Carmichaels lovely song, conjure up those long ago summer walks together in a garden where the sun is always shining.
I know from your description that I would have liked your brother very much.

smilnsigh said...

What a lovely tribute to the memory of your brother. And oh yes, I remember that song by Hoagy Carmichael. Lovely too.

And your Poppies! Magnificent! You have so many varieties. And so many, in more-pink-shades. Seems here, we have only succeeded in growing a quite orangy-red one. I so love pink. :-)

Again, such a lovely entry you gave us, today.

Hugs, Mari-Nanci

smilnsigh said...

And thank you so much for joining in on my other *sort-of-wonderings* blog. It feels good to wonder about some things, in a place other than my usual and mostly always light blog. To wonder, and to hear that others may wonder also... And especially, how they deal with their wonderings.

I so appreciate you and everyone, who comes and chats with me.


Mark said...

Great collection of poppies, nearly enough to rival the fields in Afganistan...Lol

Cheers Mark

joey said...

I stopped in to admire your amazing collection of poppies and am leaving, teary eyed, reading your heartfelt tribute to your 'hero' brother. Although the circumstances were not as tragic, my only brother too died unexpectedly, way too young, 6 years ago this July. As with you, he lives forever in daily thoughts and through the laughter of his many friends, my sisters, my husband and my children, relating many much-loved stories of his precious time on earth. Hugs from across the sea.

kate said...

It is a rare and precious gift that your brother had ... and it lives on with you and in your garden. The poppies are beautiful as is your lovely tribute to your brother!

Mark said...

Hi , Just to let you know i have nominated you for the Blogger for positive global change award. Pop over to mine if you are not sure what it is.

Cheers mark

paris parfait said...

Absolutely beautiful tribute to your very special brother. Stunning photos too.

Nicole said...

That is so sad about your brother, and his transgressors will get their just desserts in the next realm, if not this one.
What beautiful flowers, and the gifts he shared with you that stays on.

Yolanda Elizabet said...

What a wonderful tribute to a wonderful person. How fortunate you are to have known such a kind man.

Love the pics of all those beautiful poppies!

Dirty Fingernails said...

I am so fond of poppies, where I live it gets WAY to hot for them.. They last about one day and then the blazing humid hot summers get ahold of them.. Yours are absolutely gorgeous!!! Even more special when associated with a loved one.

Iowa Gardening Woman said...

Poppies are such a careful wonderful flower, I need to get more of them, beautiful photos.

Libbys Blog said...

What a lovely post, beautiful poppies. How lucky you where to have such a lovely brother. So sorry to hear how he died. Its funny how we associate certain flowers with certain people.

Bimbimbie said...

... beautiful post, he gave you such a wonderful gift and now you have your darling brother with you in every flower and leaf - you've created a fanfare of colour for him and everyone you love Smiles *!*

Dawn said...

What a wonderful brother. I'm so very sorry for your loss. Such a senseless tragedy.

Your beautiful tribute to your dear brother brought tears to my eyes. Your love for him and his for you will live forever.

Green thumb said...

Loss of a near one, specially, someone who has been so full of life and vigour can never be easy. It leaves a permanent void, yet, time takes some pain away from the feeling of loss.
Dear W.G, no words can be sufficient to pay tribute to a person so special but still I hope and pray that your wonderful brother is there among the angels, looking down from up there and reading this post.

A wildlife gardener said...

I feel very humbled and overwhelmed by all of your responses. Thank you all very much indeed for your kind and gracious comments which I truly appreciate.

I shall be visiting all of your blogs over the next few days to catch up with my regular blogging friends' posts and to visit the blogs of those who have introduced themselves on this post.

Once again, many thanks.

Shirley - Choosing Voluntary Simplicity said...

Beautiful flowers and an equally beautiful tribute to your brother.

Choosing Voluntary Simplicity

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