One thing about having a garden we visit so often, at all times of the year, is that we notice changes more with every year that passes, as well as looking out for things we expect to see growing. (That sounds terribly ... elderly. I suppose I am.) Last year I missed seeing this tree in blossom; perhaps it happened a little later in May and I was away on holiday. But here it was today: the handkerchief tree in Benmore Gardens, otherwise known as Davidia involucrata. The black fuzzy balls in the centre of each white "handkerchief" are the actual flowers, and the tree is absolutely covered in these delicate white scraps of what looks like fine cloth. It's lovely.
Returning briefly to the "elderly" theme: I think it perhaps does take the perspective of years to find such contentment in a natural environment, and today, the day before a concert that will be quite demanding in all sorts of ways, it was all we could cope with on a chilly afternoon. We left it so late that there was nobody about; the gardens officially close at 5.30pm and we had them to ourselves, along with a host of singing birds, one inquisitive red squirrel on a branch above us, and the drifting scents of hundreds of plants.
And tomorrow we'll be back on Boogie Street ...