In the summer of 2019, my sister-in-law (@mydreamcanvas) came visiting us, and at the end of a few glorious days of swanning around the city, she left me with this beautiful journal that I lost my heart to at The Strand bookshop. It might have been merely a year ago, but at the present moment it seems so very far removed from the summer this year, around which hangs a haze of unreality. Yet it is an idyllic summer, which I cannot deny, of pottering in our small garden filled with cherry tomatoes, beefsteak tomatoes, aubergines, lemon, chillies, radishes, rosemary, oregano, thyme, parsley, mint, and basil. The fern is growing lavishly like a child borne of love and I admit I am terribly fond of it.
It is entrancing to have a ringside view of the lives of plants. Watching them sprout from seeds, transform into seedlings, shoot forth fresh green and tender saplings, and keep growing without a care in the world – it feels therapeutic. I do not mind even the tiny caterpillars and aphids that start showing up as perverse guests.
Anyway, the long and short of it is that I have started to pick fallen leaves, berries, and blossoms. I carry them home with care and proceed to press them dry within the pages of the heaviest cookbooks. When they are suitably papery in texture, I insert them into mon cahier botanique and fill in the rest with botanical notes, watercolours, and poems that refuse to fade from the mind.