Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Cherry blossom rain

click photo to enlarge
Ornamental planting in public places can be (excuse the pun) a thorny issue. The motivation is usually to either beautify the locality, to create habitat, for screening purposes, to suppress noise, or to reduce the maintenance required for a piece of land. More enlightened local councils plant a thoughtful disposition of native and ornamental species, thinking carefully about each locality, and their good work brings pleasure to us all. However, occasionally things get silly.

Driving through Lancashire in recent weeks I've found too many roadside verges with miles of thin lines of daffodils where parish councils appear to have gone berserk with bulbs. In recent times I've seen bushes grubbed up, and trees chopped down on traffic roundabouts apparently to improve drivers' sight lines. In my immediate locality the council's chosen horticultural contractors fall on their spring work with the sensitivity of a rapacious barbarian horde, pruning with petrol-powered trimmers, shaping the flowering currants just as the flower buds appear. Yet, elsewhere, they do good work, planting waste ground with trees fitted with nest and bat boxes, and maintaining impressive floral displays. Perhaps local councils just can't win, caught between the constraints of cost, health and safety, the environmental imperative, and the widespread public desire for "pretty planting".

My photograph shows a flowering cherry - definitely "pretty planting". The classic shot of this species shows the pink blossom, sunlit, against a blue sky. I thought I'd try for something different, and went for the saturated colours of a branch, itself saturated by a May shower, raindrops and all. The shades of green, the brown tones of the leaves and branch, and the pink of the blossom, are not colours that we normally think complement one another. But, one of the wonderful things about the colours of nature is that you can put virtually any of them together, and they somehow seem just right!
photograph & text (c) T. Boughen