In my fantasies, this is the garden of my cottage somewhere near the seaside.

IMGP1098 IMGP1117 IMGP1127 IMGP1149 IMGP1153 IMGP1168Actually, these flowers all grown in the Oxford University Botanic Gardens. When I was still a student, I used to go there all the time, especially in the summers,  sit somewhere for hours reading, enjoying the relative quiet. My heart bled when last summer they knocked down the Tolkien tree, an ancient black pine under which the writer used to sit, tree so big and so old it couldn’t hold its own weight anymore. One of my favourite Botanic Garden memories though is from the bleak midwinter of my first year as a student in Oxford. On a particularly grey, dull January Sunday morning, I walked around the gardens with a friend; the plants were dead and the flower beds empty, not even the snowdrops blooming yet. There was a fog – not a romantic mist, but the sort of damp, cold fog that the English winter so excels at, and we escaped its clutches to the nearest pub, where we sat by the fire, ordered lunch and watched through the windows how sleet started to fall. A day as perfect as it was opposite to this.

IMGP1158 IMGP1179 IMGP1203 IMGP1193 IMGP1210 IMGP1243The flower borders were planted to attract butterflies, but on this day, they were actually full of bees – greedy, fat bees of every kind, drunk of the nectar, heavy with pollen.

And there were perfect vegetables:

IMGP1223 IMGP1230 IMGP1231 IMGP1233 Oh, summer!

All photos were taken with SMC Pentax-M 1:2 50mm lens.

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