Spring has sprung. It’s that beautiful time of year when some of my favourite flowers are in full bloom. The daffodils are being their sunny selves. The tulips are poking their heads out. Soon we will be able to visit the Keukenhof again (and we already have plans to go again). The blossom is bringing a promise of sweet summer fruit. The beautiful magnolia is in full bloom, too.
Magnolia is one of my favourite plants. I know it makes a mess and it only flowers for a short period of time, but I think it is beautiful. Unfortunately, my mother-in-law is our chief gardener, and she abhors the mess they make. I don’t think we will be planting any in our garden any time soon.
Spring in Brussels…
Spring was my favourite seasons in Brussels – as opposed to summer where rain was incredibly frequent. One of the things I loved most about spring was the blooming magnolia. Each art nouveau building seemed to have its own magnolia tree in various shades. Did I mention that Brussels is one of the art nouveau capitals of the world?
And this gorgeous house was just around the corner from where I lived.
… and then in Germany
I missed the spring magnolia in Germany. We used to live in Düsseldorf where there was nary a magnolia tree to be seen.
This year, however, Spring has sprung and the magnolia is everywhere. It turns out that there are about 20 trees in our immediate neighbourhood! Somehow, I had not noticed them before and they were all in full bloom. Perhaps that is because I was not here at this time two years ago and was in a haze for a long time after that.
We also found some magnolia in Wuppertal when visiting our zoo. interestingly, it was growing in the gardens of art nouveau houses. Perhaps there is something I don’t have to miss about spring in Brussels?
Sill, Magnolia will always remind me of my Mum
However fleeting, I always find magnolia rather elegant. Its lines are something that many high-end designs try to emulate. Danish design and designers like Georg Jensen immediately come to mind.
Magnolia also has a dignity to it. Somehow, the way the magnolia blooms, it is like its head is held high, despite the fact that it will only bloom for a short time. At the start, just after diagnosis, my Mum had hope that there might be a cure for her cancer. Even when that hope had gone, she remained dignified, despite the inevitable end. Mum even fought to maintain her dignity in the last few days when everything else was failing, even when her spring had sprung and the blooms were dying.
In her classroom and in her work, my Mum fought to ensure that every child was treated with dignity and respect. Even those children who came from difficult homes were given their dignity and shown respect.
Magnolias also symbolise stability and grace through the ever-changing ages. My Mum was the stability in our family. She provided the stable soil from which to bloom, secure in her love – and that of my Dad of course.
When there were arguments among family members, she would broker the peace, but did so with grace, still treating everyone with dignity and respect, even if she thought one party had been unreasonable.
Spring has sprung – and the magnolia is cheering me up and making me sentimental
While I love the magnolia – and it will remain one of my favourite flowers – it makes me sentimental for an earlier time and a woman who still reminds me of the magnolia.
Moreover, it makes me want to be graceful and provide stability for my family, and treat all that I know with dignity.