Laburnum arbor, Bayview Nursery

Laburnum arbor, Bayview Nursery

Spring is proceeding at breathless pace, and one of my favorite places to savor the fresh colors and blooms is Bayview Farm and Garden on Whidbey Island.  I mark my calendar each year so that I remember to make the trip there when the laburnum arbor is in full glory.  The cascading flowers of Golden Chain give the impression that you are sitting under a floral waterfall.  The double arbor alone makes Bayview Farm and Garden a worthy destination, but of course, the rest of the nursery is also full of visual treats.

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A garden Buddha

A garden Buddha

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Clematis

Clematis

Hollyhocks

Hollyhocks

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Fuchsias

Fuchsias

“Fuchsias are among my ninety-nine most favourite flowers. . . . I could go on for hours, and probably shall, one day, about their white petticoats and their crimson ruffs and the incredible grace with which they dispose themselves.”
— Beverley Nichols, Sunlight on the Lawn

Wisteria in a Seattle alley

Purple wisteria

Dangling blossoms

Cascading veil of white wisteria

Detail of white wisteria in bloom

Looking down the street under a canopy of white blossoms

I pass this blooming golden chain on my walk to work.

Cheerful, yellow golden chain

There have been so many different flowers coming into bloom these past couple of weeks.  I feel compelled to jump from one bloom to another.  And for sure I had to do a post on wisteria and golden chain before they fade.  I lump them together not only because they bloom at about the same time, but because each glory under the prodigious weight of hundreds of dangling blossoms — a living curtain.  If I squint my eyes as I look at them, they remind me of impressionist paintings.

Among the impressionist painters, Claude Monet is perhaps most famous for his paintings of wisteria, which grew over the foot bridge in his gardens at Giverny.

Wisteria (Glycines) 1919-20 by Claude Monet from the collection of the Allen Memorial Art Museum at Oberlin College

Monet Refuses The Operation
by Lisa Mueller

Doctor, you say there are no haloes
around the streetlights in Paris
and what I see is an aberration
caused by old age, an affliction
I tell you it has taken me all my life
to arrive at the vision of gas lamps as angels,
to soften and blur and finally banish
the edges you regret I don’t see,
to learn that the line I called the horizon
does not exist and sky and water,
so long apart, are the same state of being.
Fifty-four years before I could see
Rouen cathedral is built
of parallel shafts of sun,
and now you want to restore
my youthful errors: fixed
notions of top and bottom,
the illusion of three-dimensional space,
wisteria separate
from the bridge it covers.
What can I say to convince you
the Houses of Parliament dissolves
night after night to become
the fluid dream of the Thames?
I will not return to a universe
of objects that don’t know each other,
as if islands were not the lost children
of one great continent. The world
is flux, and light becomes what it touches,
becomes water, lilies on water,
above and below water,
becomes lilac and mauve and yellow
and white and cerulean lamps,
small fists passing sunlight
so quickly to one another
that it would take long, streaming hair
inside my brush to catch it.
To paint the speed of light!
Our weighted shapes, these verticals,
burn to mix with air
and change our bones, skin, clothes
to gases. Doctor,
if only you could see
how heaven pulls earth into its arms
and how infinitely the heart expands
to claim this world, blue vapor without end.

Arbor of golden chain at the Bayview Nursery

While we were on Whidbey Island, we stopped at the Bayview Nursery to see the laburnum in bloom.  They are stunningly displayed in two arbors.  To walk through the golden arches is enchanting.

Double arbors of golden chain, Bayview Nursery

Golden chain remind me of yellow wisteria

Blooms hang like pendulums

A curtain of golden chain

An enchanting spot

Doesn't this resemble an impressionist painting?

Looking back through the other way

Golden arches

Spectacular laburnum at the Bayview Nursery