Carp dance Posted on May 4, 2016

A splash of colour in the Japanese Garden, Holland Park, London

A week of warm weather followed by two of cold has given us the bonus of putting spring on hold. Two weeks of warm would have seen all these flowers (or many of them) fade. As it is, they are still prime. Our richly cherried street – largely the marvellous Prunus avium plena – is wreathed in white. At morning curtain-call, or rather-draw, they almost invade the bedroom – they are tall trees – with the their snowy tentacles .

This is cherry zenith. The early ones still have traces of flower, there are still a few to perform (the bird cherry for one), but this is the moment the Japanese garden in Holland Park – and I hope those elsewhere – flies its brilliant carp streamers. Technicolour representations of carp, that is, made like windsocks to dance in the wind. (The pond is teeming with fat koi in rainbow colours too.) With the garden already brimming with bright colour; not just cherries but early azaleas, the new leaves of maples, irises, the first dogwoods (and the not very Japanese bluebells), the carp are gloriously over-the-top – a great whoopee.

A warm spell now would put a stop to it. But this year the jubilee rolls on. We may be impatient to see the spring; a fast-forward button is what most people want at the end of winter (or right through winter). If buttons are on offer, though, give me a slow-motion one.

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