Monday, 24 March 2014

(Kitsch) Spring

Dear readers,
Often, as March draws to a close, I wish Mother Nature would slow down her dazzling spring parade here in my corner of the woods.  As I was driving along the Loire this morning, the placidly flowing river to my left and the graceful mansions on my right, I spotted blooming wisteria on a sundrenched wall. 'Too soon', I murmured to myself, 'not yet, please'.  It was only yesterday, or so it seems, that I was saying good-bye to the wild snowdrops in neighbouring coppices.

Wild spring flowers are my favourite, I think; more precious still because they are as ephemeral as the tantalizing March sunshine.  I take time every day to see their beauty, both fragile and yet hardy as they withstand the temperamental weather.  There is a little sloped garden, a few minutes stroll away from our home, which always delights me.  It calls to mind late fifteenth and early sixteenth-century millefleurs tapestries of flowery meads where spring grew eternal- green, green grass with a rich scattering of simple pale yellow primroses, a handful of tiny violets, blue-tinged periwinkles and dancing cowslips. Simple spring garden flowers, as familiar to us today as to our forebearers five centuries ago.  Is it any surprise that the six millefleurs tapestries in the Musée de Cluny in Paris known as the Lady and the Unicorn series celebrate the sensual delights of taste, smell, sight, hearing and touch?  I know my children, like many others, instinctively bend down to smell and caress these flowers as they walk by and many of them are edible too, of course.

This is the early spring I like to commit to memory for the warmer months ahead when Nature always seems two or three steps ahead of me.  A few moments of pleasurable nostalgia. For now Angélique and I will continue to wear violet perfume and to gaze admiringly at freshly sprung primroses.  There is nothing more exquisite and heartening.
Are any of you familiar with The Orlando Consort's fabulous recording of Medieval and early Renaissance songs and motets celebrating gardens in music?  The Rose, the Lily & the Whortleberry, which was released a few years ago, is a treasure and the selection of miniature paintings of Medieval gardens in the accompanying booklet a visual treat.

Flora Chick and Miss Blossom, my two latest hares (who will be celebrating Easter in Florida), were photographed just minutes before a downpour.  Fortunately the mossy ground was dry.  Please forgive my kitsch pictures, won't you?  I'm still in high spirits after my good news a few days ago and the kind-hearted, supportive comments you left me on my previous post.  How may I thank you all?

A bientôt,



  1. Stephanie, I am so glad that you survived your health scare and that all is well. It is so easy for us to think the worst, especially when we have little ones to care for.
    Your hares are so beautiful, as always, and kitsch or not, I love them dallying among the primroses.
    You must be one of the very few who wants nature to slow down at this time of year, but I know what you mean, the tenderness of the flowers is all too fleeting.
    Wishing you and yours, a very happy week, with love,Linda x

  2. Oh Stephanie, your photos aren't kitsch, I love them and I love your gorgeous new girls too! I was photographing primroses myself just the other day, so that probably gives you a clue as to what is coming next from me! ;)
    I do know what you mean about spring slowing down a bit from now on though, I totally agree!
    Have a lovely week,
    V xxx

  3. Stephanie, many thanks for your very kind words. With love, Linda x

  4. Such beauty ..... your photos took my breath away.
    I agree with you, I like to spend time to appreciate all the spring blooms, they are so longed for during the dark winter time and I wish spring was longer, my favourite season by far.
    Your hares, as always, are wonderful and that little chick cross stitch ..... Oh. My Goodness!
    I've been thinking about you and your happy news last time x
    love Jooles x x x

  5. Beautiful post, you have so much to celebrate, I do believe the spring flowers have a more intense colour and scent following your good news! :-) I do love The Lady and the Unicorn series, I have fond memories of visiting them...and I'm listening to samples of the music you recommended, it is sublime! I just sang in a chamber choir concert that featured early English music, Purcell, Byrd...I could listen and sing all of this music forever and ever. Thank you for sharing! Chrissie x

  6. Wonderful kitsch pictures! I love them all and the two misses enjoying the spring sunshine. I like primroses all over our little garden now. And yes, it is too fast. Everyday, new buds open out."Slow down" I also want to ask my wisteria and rosebud ready to bloom (just can't belive it!). A perfect music for spring in the garden.

  7. Sweet Spring. Sweet hares. The years do rush by don't they, with hardly the time to fully appreciate each seasonal change before the next comes along. Before we know it the lilacs and then the roses will be in bloom.

  8. I was admiring the primroses here this morning. There is something so simple, yet uplifting seeing them.

  9. I am still so thrilled, basking in the afterglow of your great news, chère Stephanie! And now look at what Mère Nature has given you...a field of gold. LOVE THIS...your bunnies with their polka dot ears - how more spring can we get, and for how you can thank me? Just continue to be my friend. That's all.

    To think that you are enjoying this, it gives me joy. We are very behind schedule here, and probably won't see any flowers until late May, but that is O.K. All good things in their time.

    MUCH LOVE!!!!!!!!!!

  10. Dear Stephanie,

    I love your sweet bunnies sitting in the field amongst the primroses.
    So happy to hear your good news - take care and enjoy your week and the Springtime

  11. Beautiful hares again Stephanie and I just love your magical photography!
    Must have been such a relief to receive the good news. Happy for you, thinking of you.

  12. I missed your post about your health scare but so pleased to learn that all is well.
    I know exactly how you feel about the spring passing by with such momentum - I feel like shouting 'stop now - I need more time to enjoy you'.

  13. Awww, your little bunnies are just so darn sweet! I love their tatooed ankles -- tooooo cute!

  14. oh wow, at first i was just looking at your photos without reading your post, and remembering when we lived near tours, all of the beautiful wild primroses we had.i loved those best : )
    these bunnies are perfect for spring : )

  15. so very very glad your report came back well….I had a similar scare a few years ago and my heart still sort of sinks when i think about it.
    spring is still ahead of us here (I hope)…one day i'm ready to frolic amid the tough survivors of another cold snap when the temps climb a bit, and then we are back to snow flurries. my real fear is that we'll launch right in to the heat of summer without that tender grace of spring.

  16. So beautiful cheerful and spring like!! We are patiently waiting for signs of spring. Love the rabbits!!

  17. Those fields of spring roses look enchanting Stephanie. Your two beautiful hares seem to be having a lovely time among the flowers :-)

    Enjoy your rides through the beautiful French countryside. I wish I could join you, especially now with all those wildflowers in bloom and the wisteria :-)

    Have a lovely evening!

    Madelief x

  18. Oh that little chickie cross stitched on the side is darling! These bunnies are beautiful creations as always.

  19. Your photography is gorgeous! I would love to sit on this bed of flowers like your beautiful creations! Everything looks like it's been soaking in the sunshine! Postcard worthy pictures truly!

  20. Not kitschy at all, Stephanie - only whimsical and delightful and primrosy! I can envision Flora and Miss B linking arms and dancing through the raindrops after the camera was put away....

    I do know how you feel about the speed with which spring passes us by. It's almost agonizing to see the longed-for flowers come and to know that they will be gone so soon. Every year I yearn for lilacs, then spend the two precious weeks of their presence dreading their departure - when I should be simply revelling in their lush beauty and perfume.

    The blackbird you saw in my post is called a Red-Winged Blackbird - Agelaius phoeniceus - the most common blackbird variety in my area. They're handsome, cheery birds, with a particularly tuneful song, and it's one of the great joys of spring to hear and see them again. :)

  21. What beautiful Spring flowers.

  22. Just went back and read your last post....oh dear...I had a similar experience last year...and 5 mammograms later, got the all clear and come back in two years. Glad your news was good.

  23. oh these spring blossoms, like a magic carpet, so so lovely. your sweet bunnies look nicely in place too, i think the perfect photo shoot! somebody (bunny) is going to have a wonderful easter!
    celebrating your joy with you dear stephanie. xoxo

  24. I saw my first wild Violets yesterday, Stephanie and i thought of you...And of course my lovely Mama,as these very dainty wild flowers were her favourite too, ....I soo agree i to would love to shout out LOUD slow down.....It's to chilly for cherry blossoms just now....It's only march after all....
    But Mother nature has her plans well and truly set ........
    It's actually very mild here in the UK....We almost feel a month at least further into the year.....
    Stephanie I adore those little bunnies, they remind me of Easter ( my most favourite time)
    Beautiful post as always...
    Hugs and thoughts of kindness.
    Maria x

  25. Dear Stephanie, I have just gone back to read your last post; I'm so glad everything is OK, but what a scare for you. So sorry I didn't comment sooner.

    The little garden nearby looks to be an absolute delight, what a joyful time of year this is! There is something so special about those little blooms which gardeners have been enjoying for centuries, isn't there. That sense of continuity .... and the colours - so pretty! Everything is budding here way before time. But my goodness a wisteria in bloom is quite something in March!

    Thank you for bringing The Orlando Consort to my attention. I went to see a wonderful concert by The Sixteen and I'm sure I would love their music too.

    Take care of yourself.

  26. Hello lovely Stephanie. I am so pleased to hear that your heath is moving a positive direction and there is nothing to worry about. I think when we are concerned with our health, the world can be viewed from such a different perspective and good health can only but accentuate the beauty around us. I completely agree with you that the season move too fast, I want to drink it all in and enjoy every minute of the beauty that mother natures gifts us every day. I am loving your gorgeous hares, they really are very special as are the beautiful photographs. Wishing you a wonderful rest of your week xoxo

  27. Hello lovely Stephanie. May your week be filled with love, laughter and sunshine. Cx

  28. Stephanie ma belle,

    What a lovely day I am having, being the first of a week-long spring break from school. There is so much to say about the love and beauty I experience when YOU come to visit me. Your kind words are honest, heart-felt and just right. I have learned and am continuing to do so, that poetry (at least modern, free verse) is effective when truly sincere to the writer's personality. We must learn "the rules" and let our views run with the rules and sometimes even break them. But certain things never change for me, and that is to communicate with an audience. I thank you for your response.

    I think spring is coming to us! We had a little rabbit come visit yesterday, nibbling on exposed grass after a ton of snow melted. She had been feasting on our tree bark all winter, but though she looks a bit ragged around the face and ears, she will at least enjoy an early spring of tender shoots.

    Peace and love to you dear and wonderful friend. Anita

  29. Lovely Stephanie...Flora Chick and Miss Blossom sitting among the wild spring flowers are such beautiful images and they are both exquisite in their finery....how pretty are those dresses!...You have captured a moment in time so perfectly ...Wouldn't it be perfect if Mother Nature would stop for just a little while longer at such times?..Hope you're having a wonderful week lovely lady (and my apologies for arriving so late....definitely a treat as always though!)
    Susan x

  30. love the miss blossom rabbit dont know the recording but it sounds great have listend it on amazone a few samples little bit barok caint I am reading now your book tips history fairytales bitter green and the new one the wild girl there are lovely beautiful written thank you so much for bring it up
    hope there comes a 3 book of her have a lovely day

  31. My dear and wonderful friend,

    THANK YOU for leaving me a comment. All is well, but I have decided to only post once a month, because as you know, for the amount of time it takes to compose a post, and to answer comments, only to see a dwindling audience, it makes one wonder. I will continue however, to visit for I adore all of you kind and talented friends. I again say, thank you, for leaving a comment. I will continue on, but less frequently. BIG HUGS and thanks from Minneapolis, Minnesota! Anita

  32. Oh Stepahnie these photos are just so beautiful!! Flora chick and Miss Blossom are both adorable. I'm in love with their dresses and the wonderful embriodery. The little chick is so gorgeous!! I always wish that Spring could last a little longer, it's such a magical time of year and my favourite season.
    Hugs for you and the hares :) Vicky ♥ ♥

  33. Your blog is really great, I wanted to thank you for the help you provide.


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