Garden path in Spring – 12 April 2021

In the northern hemisphere Easter season falls in the spring, with all the associations with new life. Here is a spring garden, bright with flowers and new growth. Cherry trees blossom, spring flowers from daffodils and tulips through to irises fill the well kept borders. A path divides the picture into two, inviting the viewer to take a stroll. The light is bright and cool, suggestive of spring weather.

The artist here is Duncan Grant, and this is the garden he has tended at Charleston. The bulbs flowering under the trees had been planted by him. The painting comes from 1940, so the bulbs and planting took place at the beginning of the war, when the garden provided a physical haven. Previously when painting outdoors, Grant had included long vistas, capturing landscapes that gave a sense of the size and scope of the world in which he travelled. The scene here shows very little sky, and there is no sense of what is beyond, yet it invites the viewer outside to begin exploration, because new life has appeared.


The old things passed-away; behold, new things have come-into-being.

2 Corinthians 5:17


Frost-locked all the winter,
Seeds, and roots, and stones of fruits,
What shall make their sap ascend
That they may put forth shoots?
Tips of tender green,
Leaf, or blade, or sheath;
Telling of the hidden life
That breaks forth underneath,
Life nursed in its grave by Death.
Blows the thaw-wind pleasantly,
Drips the soaking rain,
By fits looks down the waking sun:
Young grass springs on the plain;
Young leaves clothe early hedgerow trees;
Seeds, and roots, and stones of fruits,
Swollen with sap put forth their shoots;
Curled-headed ferns sprout in the lane;
Birds sing and pair again.
There is no time like Spring,
When life’s alive in everything,
Before new nestlings sing,
Before cleft swallows speed their journey back
Along the trackless track –
God guides their wing,
He spreads their table that they nothing lack, –
Before the daisy grows a common flower
Before the sun has power
To scorch the world up in his noontide hour.
There is no time like Spring,
Like Spring that passes by;
There is no life like Spring-life born to die,
Piercing the sod,
Clothing the uncouth clod,
Hatched in the nest,
Fledged on the windy bough,
Strong on the wing:
There is no time like Spring that passes by,
Now newly born, and now
Hastening to die.

Christina Rossetti, Spring