‘Miles of accidental loveliness’

Photo: Richard Croft, via Wikipedia

Ahead of me, the path was so overgrown as to be obliterated. I pushed through lush sprays of lacy flowers and nodding daisies. There were wildflowers of purple and yellow and the most delicate pale blue. This was a garden growing on concrete. This is the most extraordinary fact about Britain. It wants to be a garden. Flowers bloom in the unlikeliest places – on railway sidings  and waste grounds where there is nothing beneath them but rubble and grit. You even see clumps of flowery life growing on the sides of abandoned warehouses and old viaducts. If all the humans in the UK vanished tomorrow, Britain would still be in flower. This is in complete contrast to America where nature is wild and raw. You need flamethrowers to keep the weeds in check where I come from. Here it is just miles of accidental loveliness. It is really quite splendid.

– Bill Bryson, from his book The Road to Little Dribbling: More notes from a small island (2015)

2 thoughts on “‘Miles of accidental loveliness’

  1. What a wonderful title for a blog post. Had me clicking through the second I saw it! I wonder if we humans are biologically hard-wired to be so attracted to flowers or if it is a learned thing, especially for those of us with an Anglo-Celtic heritage and childhoods filled with Enid Blyton, flowery nursery rhymes and the wonderful words of the great English poets.

  2. Thanks for stopping by Catherine. There is something gentle about the English countryside, isn’t there? It may simply be the rounded land forms (caused by having been exposed to more erosion than, for instance, geologically younger New Zealand with its craggy peaks) that make it appear softer or it may be the climate where the abundance of spring and summer really make their mark or, it may be, as you so rightly point out some kind of cultural folk memory. I certainly never thought of Mr McGregor’s garden as being ‘foreign’.

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