From the Vault: May Flowers

After the seemingly incessant rain of April, we’re always hoping for those promised May flowers to brighten up the gloomy forecast, not to mention spark some creative imagination. Enjoy this list featuring a just a little taste taste of five books chock full of natural beauty—perfect reading for the last lazy days of spring.


Brazilian Journal
by P.K. Page

“In the garden one tree has four great sprays of tree orchids growing from it – white with purple centres; another has a yellow orchid with a rust centre; still another, an indescribable flower of bright cerise with cerulean-blue tips on its large heather-shaped flowers. I wish I knew how to describe the vegetation, or indeed how to paint it. It is so excessive. Every tree puts forth some flower in clumps or sprays or showers of yellow, purple, pink, white, or red – and almost every trunk bears orchids. Nature doesn’t seem to know how to control itself!” Learn more »


The Essential Robert Gibbs
selected by Brian Bartlett

“Even honeycomb and pomegranates
having strong-sided walls
to keep each cell from each
(every seed its own tree in side)
never chance
two without one, shake without tremble
and inside themselves
their bright sweet lights
must figure jointedly and indivisible”

—From A Dog in a Dream
Learn more »


Beasts of New York
by Jon Evans

“A vast and tangled forest of roots dangled from the dome like willow branches, like an upside-down tree. The deepest tendrils almost brushed against the stone bridge. In their shadow, the things lying in a ragged line across the very center of the bridge were difficult to see, and their smell was drowned in the invasive maelstrom of rat and that other, terrible, nameless scent; but Patch and White knew them the moment they saw them….” Learn more »


Out of the Wood
by Rosemary Kilbourn


“This pot of hyacinths was mistakenly left in its wrapping for a week. The flowers grew in their confinement, developing a slightly circular shape as if protecting or concealing the young shoot in the centre. The shoot seemed to take on a special, secretive significance, like the hidden centre of the heart.” Learn more »


The Grand River
by Gerard Brender à Brandis and Marianne Brandis


“Today the river’s water undulates smoothly except where barely emerging stones and a few rushes and yellow pond lilies break the surface into riffles. On the banks grow ferns, horsetails, burrs, and blue irises. There are butterflies and horseflies, and insects invisible to us whose presence is indicated by scooping swallows. The tree trunks in this image are the visible parts of submerged networks of roots that, constantly growing and decaying, are integral to the life of the watershed.” Learn more »


portraitDon’t those passages just make you shiver with the beauty of the written word? Well, there you have it. Five books guaranteed to help you appreciate the natural beauties of spring. Hope you enjoyed this edition of From the Vault. If you’re looking for great book recommendations, please get in touch!sig

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The Porcupine's Quill would like to acknowledge the support of the Ontario Arts Council and the Canada Council for the Arts for our publishing program. The financial support of the Government of Canada through the Canada Book Fund (CBF) is also gratefully acknowledged.