We have it everywhere, around St Mary's Fields, in Sandy Lane, along the A44 through
Yarnton and Begbroke, down along the river towards Thrupp — all over the place. Apple,
pear, cherry, lilac (coming), forsythia (gone over), laburnum (yet to come): fruit by fruit,
flower by flower, it is uncontainable, a miraculous tidal effusion which may be earlier this year
than usual. All is not lost.
Outside our back door we have a square of gravel where wisteria grows. We walk across the gravel every day, and over the years have hardened a path. Coffee one way, lunch another, tea again, supper, back and forth between and among the wisteria sticks as the day goes by.
It comes into flower a bit later than other blossom, but it is now well on its way with its joy-giving effort.
First, in early March it showed a nose of indeterminate grey or brown on twigs that might snap at a glance; then, in fluff, a suggestion of green; then, on the last day of March, a mass of buds like elongated raspberries with purple intentions. Now, mid-April, the flowers – pendulous racemes – lengthen and part and point and dangle, and behind their flowers the leaves are beginning to spring out. The scent is still a mere hint.
This wisteria has had three or maybe four summers now. It twists around its bamboo posts, making up rules of the road as it goes, and, at the tops of the posts, some trails are stretching out along the horizontals to finger one other.
The gravel came from Smiths of Bletchington, dug from land where dinosaurs splashed in warm waters teeming with life. Dredged from these dry beds, and here now beside a house in Kidlington, are fossils of tiny bivalves, an oyster, and those long pointy ones shaped like bullets. Dinosaurs, fossils, buds, flowers: life carries on.
James Hamilton is a resident of the village of Kidlington, Oxfordshire. He is a curator, writer and lecturer, who entered the University of Manchester 1966 to read Mechanical Engineering, and emerged in 1971 with a degree in History of Art.
James is also a biographer and has written on Turner, Faraday, and Gainsborough.
Visit James' website here.