Since the last post here Queen Elizabeth II has died, and although she was a great age, and obviously frail with health concerns in latter years, I for one felt a sense of shock when the announcement came.
I draw much of my inspiration from the colours and forms found in our cottage garden here, which is maintained organically in a 'relaxed' way, meaning that we leave wild places and delay clearing things until Spring, giving the abundant wildlife places to hide away in the winter. At this time of year the hydrangea flowers, long past their unblemished best, take on a kind of venerable antiquity, fading and darkening to subtle Autumnal hues, which I find more attractive and interesting than the high summer pinks. We leave these flowers until pruning them away in Springtime, by which time they are whispy papery brown ghosts of their former selves. When the Queen was moved from Westminster Hall following the Lying in State, the white flowers on top of the coffin were replaced by pink and red flowers, nestling amongst greenery, including rosemary, all gathered from Highgrove, Clarence House and Buckingham Palace Gardens. I was surprised to see there were 'Autumnal hydrangeas' included, the faded flowers of a late summer garden, which had been judged 'fit for a Queen' as well as the jug in my kitchen!