I came home today through colour. By all the roads from Edinburgh to Norfolk, the single uniting shade, except the many joyous greens of early summer, was the blousy white of oxeye daisies in the banks. In the north of my journey, for four hours perhaps, the daisies flowered beside the irresponsible pink of red campion, great wind-billowed stands of it, lining verges and shrieking from the edges of woods. Most startling of all - enough to raise the down on my neck - the campions grew under the shocking flowers of broom: yolk gold and lipstick pink sparring in the wondrous way of nature. One bank, drier, sandier I imagine, blazed with the Van Gogh blue of viper's bugloss and all through the hedges, in the north, were the creamy flowers of may.
In East Anglia, and the Midlands, the may had finished with its month, red campion was over and the burning flowers of gorse and broom extinguished. Here in the south the hedges sang the delicate song of dog rose, eglantine and briar. White campion, a summer sunshine flower, was here and reaching home I saw the shy blooms of bladder campion in the verge.
In my own garden this evening, what else but oxeye daisies? These are the offspring of flowers from my childhood dog-walks in a North Norfolk village and now they recklessly seed all through my little patch of Norfolk by a chalky river. Here too the monkey flower, cranesbills, valerian and lofty spikes of parsnip. For five months now I have travelled, I have watched, I have seen, I have smiled. Now I am home for thee months, in my flower-filled garden near a river. Candide, I rather think, was right.