In spite of the rain, the tulips are still flourishing in my small Lewes garden. The star of the show this year are the Flaming Parrots – there’s nothing shy about these wonderfully exuberant plants. I can almost here them talk. “Pretty Polly” maybe or, as my grandmother’s parrot used to say, “It’s the bloody vicar!” It is like having a touch of jungle exotica out there. When we’re all getting tired of yellow Spring flowers, the dash of red is enough to get us sprinting towards summer.
I can see this fine creature out there tempting me to mix a Campari and soda with sliced oranges and to sit outside basking in the sun even though it has temporarily disappeared in these parts in exchange for some rolling black clouds and bursts of heavy rain.
I must enjoy my Flaming Parrots while they’re still perched merrily outside my window because, as in the nature of all tulips and other flying birds, one day they’re here and the next they’ve gone.
Further down the garden, there’s a rather more dignified corps de ballet. I’m also enjoying the interesting clash of colour between the fading camellia flowers and the orange Ballerina tulips.
The ballerinas provide a calming influence over all those squawking parrots and help to lessen the annual tragedy of those falling camellia blooms.
Another week or two and I will recover from the loss of those late Spring flowers already looking forward to the first great flush of roses but until then, I rather enjoy the melancholy that surrounds the ending of seasons. Certainly, those falling camellias always remind me of the saddest of all fallen camellias, the tragic but oh so romantic, Lady of the Camellias.
While the rain lasts, maybe the best thing to do is to watch a video of Stéphane Bullion & Agnés Letestu supreme in John Neumeier’s excitingly romantic ballet La Dame aux camélias choreographed to piano music by that most romantic of Romantic composers, Chopin. I’m almost hoping that the rain will last all day.
STEPHEN DEARSLEY’S SUMMER OF LOVE BY COLIN BELL
My novel, Stephen Dearsley’s Summer Of Love, was published on 31 October 2013. It is the story of a young fogey living in Brighton in 1967 who has a lot to learn when the flowering hippie counter culture changes him and the world around him.
It is now available as a paperback or on Kindle (go to your region’s Amazon site for Kindle orders)
You can order the book from the publishers, Ward Wood Publishing: