Sunday, April 19, 2009

Thinking outside the box

I can quite see that flowers are lovely. I love irises, with their hand-painted patterns, and the texture of rose petals, and all the streaks and stripes and spots and tattoos that adorn things like hellebores, tulips and foxgloves. 
However, to me, there is nothing more beautiful than new spring growth. Newborn leaves that stretch and slowly unfold, like a baby's fist. Creased leaves that smooth themselves out, like a bridesmaid in a silk dress. Bright perky little leaves, like the faces of children in their first kindergarten class. Fabulous.
Traditionally in the UK, box is trimmed on Derby Day, which means the first week of June. I can't bear to cut my box then. It still looks too new and fresh. I leave it until July, when it starts to darken up.

The new leaves of Acer palmatum 'Osakazuki' turn from russet to pale green

 Acer shirasawanum 'Aureum' unfolds its fan-like leaves. They look as if they were made using an origami technique