Over on the dreaded social media, a quote that I had forgotten about leapt out at me:
Life is simply a mix of mayhem and magnolias,
so embrace this gentle riot and gather flowers along the way.
I think it sums up this springtime rather nicely, although to be honest the world right now doesn't feel very gentle in its rioting. The flowers however are there to sustain us. Every day a new or different flower surprises and delights me. Yesterday it was the good old dandelion, any day now - not wanting to wish my life away - it will be the cherry blossom. A few days ago I learned about mouse eared cress - and then, thanks to the good tech that is the Seek app, discovered that I had also learned about it exactly a year ago. I wish I could remember the names of plants.
Briefly back to magnolias; I've been watching their development since before Christmas when I spotted already fat buds on a tree. I've visited the trees in Pollok Park regularly over the last 3 months, and have documented their development and eventual blooming over on our social media. What I have never done however, is eat a magnolia flower. I know people who will pick them off the tree and eat them straight, others who pickle them for eating in the future. I can't decide whether I don't do this because I am nervous about which sort of magnolia tree is the correct sort, because I am too lazy and scared to pickle things or because I love magnolia blossom so much that I prefer looking at it on the tree. That's not to say that I have never eaten flowers. I love a salad garnished with a nasturtium and I've had deep fried courgette flower, although I am definitely too lazy to try that one myself. One of my favourite bakeries decorates their cakes with violas when they are in season which is so pretty (and courtesy of them I have just discovered The Wee Flower Eater and am very excited for their edible pot pourri as well as the eat the rainbow edible flower seed mix). However despite knowing that many flowers are edible I was surprised yesterday to learn about candied cherry blossom or sakura and how it is used to flavour dishes in Japan. Already this has lead me to examine the cherry blossom trees closely, pronouncing the blooms, too early, too late or just right, and making me feel like a blossom Goldilocks.
It feels like this is an easy time to connect to nature, the weather (fingers crossed) is more benign, there are new shoots and flowers to celebrate, the birds are singing, but that doesn't mean that we don't sometimes need a reminder to do so. That's what this is really, a gentle reminder to connect to nature every day, whether that's by watching blossom bloom from your window or counting the dandelions on your street. You definitely don't need to know the names of the flowers or be able to pickle them to enjoy them and the nature connection they can bring. I often say humans should "be more dog" and this instagram post illustrates everything that I have written here perfectly. Take time to smell the flowers. May your week be more magnolias and only minor mayhem.