HAVE you had time recently to stand and stare or sit and reflect, whether out in the garden or through a house window on momentary wonders in your garden, almost seen like a close up photograph rather than as part of a panoramic image of the whole garden?
Recently, I had such a moment with my grandchildren, staring out of the lounge window onto the front garden, whilst we awaited the arrival of grandma back from her work at our local Junior School.
My winter flowering honeysuckle, Lonicera x purpusii, was in full late winter flower, with its tiny off-white highly scented flowers giving of their best in the late afternoon light.
Two bluetits, obviously very much in love, flitted around the shrub, alighting occasionally on a branch for a chat and gentle peck and then, that golden moment when each of them took a drink of nectar from the flowers, giving them an important energy drink to continue their loving relationship, nest building and the inevitable hard work of bringing up a brood of youngsters.
The following day, in bright spring sunshine, I repeated the viewing from the window and saw my first Queen bumblebee of the year, searching out nectar to give her energy to start building her nest and get the 2011 population of vital bumblebees underway.
When I was given this shrub about 10 years ago by a friend, I had no idea of the multiple pleasures this one plant could give me, and anyone else who happened to see it.
It makes me realise, perhaps more as I get older, that these tiny transitory golden moments in a garden are worth more than all the fanciful designs and extravagant ideas that seem to flood us at times such as the Chelsea Flower Show.
Many years ago, travelling down to Devon for an Easter holiday with relatives, we stopped off at the National Trust property, Knightshayes Court near Tiverton and enjoyed the stunning woodland garden in all its spring glory.
Inevitably, as a gardener, I could not resist buying one or two plants from the National Trust and they included a tiny yellow flowered Viola that still produces its tiny flowers every year in the middle of March in a quiet corner of the garden.
It seeds itself occasionally but not invasively, as some Violas do, and always reminds me of that wonderful family holiday when I see those tiny little splashes of yellow.
The only trouble is that I lost the label and have not been able to identify since, despite rummaging through numerous text books and the internet – I do not think it is V. biflora or V.lutea as they should flower much later in the spring.
I need a golden moment of memory recall to sort this one out.
My final golden moment may shock some and scare a few more. During the writing of this piece, I decided to empty the compost bucket from the kitchen cupboard, with its usual array of orange peel, apple peelings, tea bags, tissues and other biodegradable debris from our domestic lives.
As I lifted the cover off the compost heap at the bottom of the garden, two tiny little field mice shot across the heap into the depths of a hedge behind, obviously having been disturbed whilst eating their breakfast of apple cores and other rejects from our human existence.
I hope that the new bucket of debris contains something succulent and nutritious for them to eat and gives them the energy to breed, as well as to run away from the local domestic cat population!
If you have had a ‘golden moment’ in your garden, why not write to me at Graham’s Golden Moments, Features Office, Huddersfield Daily Examiner, PO Box A26, Queen Street South, Huddersfield, HD1 3DU and I will find a space to let others