Prelude to Summer

The first to bloom were the purple irises in a large clump.  From chiffon-shrouded buds, they curled their purple petals open, revealing a hint of glimmering gold.  They stood tall, their grape fragrance catching you just as you passed by, causing you to look again, surely that grape scent hadn’t come from them?  But it had, and as a slight breeze carried their fragrant symphony delicately forth, the bees buzzed and hummed, enjoying summer’s first taste of song.

Then it was a tight ball of a peony bud, bursting open with its huge, single petals as if proclaiming, “Look at me!  I am the first of the peonies, none can surely be as magnificent!”  And they may not be, because nothing is as amazing as that first peony exploding into bright bloom in the garden, no matter its color, its size or its type.  From atop strong, tall stems, my first-born peony of the summer looks across its counterparts in the garden, crowning itself with a golden center of bright stamens.  And nothing quite prepares you for the disappointment as its concerto quickly fades and one by one its petals lose their grip, and flutter to the ground.  Their beautiful interlude just a memory, as its dark petals stain the rocks pink with morning dew.

From tight-coiled cones, my white allium were next on stage.  Their stems swelled and swelled until one morning, feathery white headdresses emerged.  Theirs was a soft minuet formed with the slight scent of an onion and chive-like stalks, waving gently in the breeze.  And their small clumps throughout my garden performed long-blooming solos in white.  The only white blooms in my garden, they warrant a standing ovation for their brave deviance from the bright colors that take over later in the summer.

Without intermission, an heirloom yellow shrub rose performed a final, golden overture among its deep green, glossy leaves.  The morning sun’s light setting their petals aflame. In an instant, they seemed to go from bud to bloom to flailed petals, scattering on the ground below.  A brief, yet lovely, sonata of color, fragrance and thorns.  Here now, gone tomorrow, nothing but a golden dream blurred sharply in our minds.

There are certain times in life where the work just must stop, the music must be heard and the world’s most beautiful moments must be applauded.  The weeding could wait.  The watering could wait.  These were times to look over the first of my blooming bounty, cherishing the very magnificence of an iridescent, silken petal tempted open by the sun’s warm encouragement.  This was a time to watch in wonder as butterflies descended from windy heights, swirling madly, but somehow ending upright atop a pollen-encrusted bloom.  This was a time to feel excitement like goosebumps on my arms, for the magical, visual sound that is just beginning, each new bloom an instrument, only just refraining at the final stanza of their prelude.

And as all these instruments of a springtime garden came together, a late spring orchestra culminated in one grand crescendo, diminishing back down with sweet, soft notes . . . promising a symphony yet to come.


17 thoughts on “Prelude to Summer

  1. Hi,

    Lovely photos, this is my first year trying Irises (well, I planted them last year but too late for blooms) and I look forward to experiencing them; if they also have scent as yours do, I guess not all do.

    • Thank you Liz! I think you’ll love them! They don’t demand a lot of attention and just thrive, their clumps ever-expanding and giving you opportunities to divide and spread throughout your garden. I have a burgundy/wine colored version as well, and they do not have a scent. But the purple ones . . . ahhhhhh! Such a unique fragrance. I can’t wait to see pics of yours next year!

    • Thanks so much! I’m beginning to love the different seasons and stages in my garden, instead of just anxiously awaiting the full bloom of summer. There’s just so many blessings to enjoy along the way!

  2. Oh KT – this is just beyond anything I can say in a comment to express awe! Your use of metaphor and clear passion for your garden of magical flowers is phenomenal!!! I did a little post that i have not yet published on my peonies flowers (small garden here). It’s light and a bit romantic in its own way – but I could imagine what you could do with it!! Do you write much poetry …maybe with your flowers as your muse? Just loved this ~~ Brava!

    • Robyn! Thank you THANK YOU! Such kind, kind words — I am honored that it touched you in such a way! Peonies are just truly magical, they always remind me of the beautiful, princess dreams that I had as a little girl, and probably shared with a lot of other little girls growing up. Romantic, cloud-like and unequivocably beautiful in their ruffled glory! Ahhhhhh . . . .see I could go on and on! I’d love to see your post, I’m sure it’s beautiful. No poetry as of yet, but you never know where the blooms may take me 😉

      • Beautiful princess dreams! Oh my – that is very consistent with my short poem for the peonies post — it starts with the word – “Asleep” !!!

        Really you should write poetry – though your narratives are basically that already! So impressed!! 🙂

    • Thanks Jess! I have to say, I don’t even mind the ants, because I so enjoy their beautiful blooms! They’re just finishing up here, sad to see them go 😦 Glad you enjoyed it!

  3. Again, beautiful ! My first Iris are getting ready to bloom and I can’t wait ! My grandpa planted them for me last fall and we weren’t sure if they would bloom this first year or not , so I am very excited to see there buds growing and preparing to put on a show! 🙂 Thank you for yet another beautiful daydream!

    • Oh how exciting! In their first year, no less! I feel like iris can be such a beautiful foundation in the garden, I hope you’ll enjoy yours as much as I enjoy mine — and how neat that your grandpa planted them for you! Thanks for your kind words, I hope all is well with your family!

  4. Your words are poetic…perfectly descriptive of the yellow rose “sharply blurred.” Ah yes. I miss my rose garden. One of my survivors is the yellow variety, certainly my favorite.

    • Thanks so much! Unless they’re shrub roses, the deer just ravage them around here 😦 Oh how I long for a flower garden with no deer fencing. A girl can always dream . . .

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