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Monday, 18 June 2012

Come into the garden Maud - why weeping willows make me smile...

I love summer: it means I can write under my wonderful weeping willow tree, pictured here.

'A garden must combine the poetic and the mysterious with a feeling of serenity and joy.' So said  the acclaimed  landscape architect Luis Barragan who was born in Mexico in 1902. If you've read  Kate Morton's 'The Forgotten Garden,' you'll understand what he meant.

When I was a child 'The Secret Garden' by Frances Hodgson Burnett  held me in its spell; so much so that I once bought a house with a secluded walkway leading down to a separate garden. This riot of greenery grew as it pleased, except for a lone magnolia tree which appeared every spring as if its star- shaped flowers had been carefully  crafted by hand. Sitting under a willow tree gives me the same sense of seclusion. 

Hans Christian Andersen wrote a story called' Under the Willow Tree' in 1853 and many others have followed his example. Even Billie Holiday was famed for singing 'Willow weep for me.'

Underneath my  tree I hear the branches rustle in the wind and watch as they tumble to the ground. It makes me feel happy, it makes me feel creative and, sometimes, it's the only place I want to be.

Perhaps that's why Alfred Lord Tennyson wrote 'Come into the garden Maud...'

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