The ending was unexpected when it came;
a bee working the August blooms
and robin drawing closer, singing.
That day the clouds were mostly white,
unbroken, grey towards the hills, but light.
He knew the names of half the flowers
and felt he might in time embrace the rest.
Spiralling scents rose skywards,
creating there a private room.
Momentary cloud breaks made blue
puddles reflecting in the pool;
flesh-pink anemones stood tall, and a crowd of pale petunias looked up.
All tasks and lists and projects died
in this strange softness of so many flowers’ timeless knowingness,
and at last he understood:
gardens are not for passing through
or visiting or catalogues,
gardens just are
like nowhere else
places to be
and see, at last:
here lies freedom, forever,
and all endings will be new beginnings.
Written in the loggia in the formal garden at Cragside. (It is called an Italian Garden, but is very English too). This is a uniquely beautiful place in August, especially in the early morning and evening, and for a week I can perhaps begin to appreciate it in the way the designer intended, because I’m staying in the old estate office and the patio doors open into these gardens.