We’re at that tipping point of summer; the days divide themselves between hot sun and thick, oppressive cloud. When it rains, the air grows cold, and you can tell autumn is just around the corner. You can almost smell it on the wind out here.
But for now, summer holds on. I took these photographs in my friend Fiona’s garden a few weeks back on one of those cloudy, heavy August days. She’s a florist, and grows flowers for her work; on this day the air was heavy with her clouds of sweet peas, lavender and the fading roses.
It strikes me as I write this how strange and senseless it is that we associate flowers with femininity. Is it because they are pretty, I wonder? Because of pink?
I feel like we might be the first generation to really view gardening as a typically female hobby, now we’re all so well removed from any type of agricultural work or productive growing ourselves. I remember my grandad tending to his greenhouse cucumbers and tomatoes, growing runner beans up the sunny wall of his garage.
Why are flowers girly, but vegetables not? Isn’t it all the same?
On these last sunny mornings, Orla likes to take me by the hand with a basket down to the stream, where we pick wildflowers to arrange in milk bottles back home. She insists on using the scissors – I have to open them for her each time – and then stuffs each stem into the basket with pride.
We talk a lot about why it’s ok to pick flowers in meadows and hedgerows, but not those growing in people’s gardens. It’s a tricky distinction for her to grasp – especially when there are so many in the pots outside the cottages, and an awful lot of them are bright pink & very tempting.
Between you and me, I sometimes sneak her one or two. Because, life’s short, right? Summer certainly is, & as I watch it fade, I realise we won’t be doing this, hand in sticky-suncreamed-hand, forever.