Day 168: floral decrepitude

Daily details from the garden to bring you inspiration throughout the year


Long past the point at which most people would have consigned them to the green bin, the flowers on the mantelpiece continue to hold a fascination for me. Of course these blooms are no longer attached to the plant on which they grew, so this small piece of domestic theatre is only a partial analogy to what goes on in the garden, where ripening fruits emerge as petals fall, though I’m not averse to snaffling the odd seed pod to add to my tableau of disintegration. Is it a bit ghoulish to take such delight in floral decrepitude? That’s for others to decide. It’s an odd kind of meditation, a story –unfolding over days – of senescence and structure, a comforting memento mori that moves at a pace more rapid than ours and, by comparison, extends the measure of our days. And at the end... compost, and all the promise that holds.

Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

There is no record of Macbeth being a gardener. He’d have found comfort in compost.

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Hello! I’m Andrew, gardener, writer, photographer, and owner of a too-loud laugh, and I’m so pleased you’ve found your way to Gardens, weeds & words. You can read a more in-depth profile of me on the About page, or by clicking this image.