ArtQuartet News – Spring 2024

Spring Leaves


by Sally Parker

Welcome to my Spring blog.

Happy Spring Equinox

Spring is a wonderful season as the vibrant colours of blossoming flowers repaint our world, and creatures return from hibernation to bask in the sun’s gentle warmth. The section ‘Healing Garden’ this month explores the philosophy, folklore and healing qualities of a much-over-looked plant. It is one of the earliest to flower in the UK’s meadows, woodlands and gardens, namely the grape hyacinth. I look forward to the blossoming of the ornamental trees and have included a Haiku poem to celebrate. This style of poetry complements my painting and several Haikus I have written feature in my book ‘Four Noble Ladies of the River Garden’. I hope this blog will inspire and uplift you with my messages of hope and new beginnings.

Spring Highlights

©Photo collage of ‘Spring Highlights’ by Sally Parker

Spring in the Shaftesbury Gallery

Shaftesbury Art Centre Gallery celebrated spring with a vibrant showcase of artworks. The exhibition took place 7th-24th February and included two of my paintings and a brand new card range. Thank you to all the gallery staff for their help.

Four Noble Ladies of the River Garden

My book ‘Four Noble Ladies of the River Garden’ will soon be no longer available to buy in paperback format. This will take effect from the end of March 2024. The hardcover format is available and you can order your copy here.

Hardcover of 'Four Noble Ladies of the River Garden' #fournobleladies #book

©Hardcover ‘Four Noble Ladies of the River Garden’ ©Sally Parker



Grape Hyacinth

©Grape Hyacinth Study by Sally Parker

The name ‘muscari’ originates from the Greek word ‘muschos,’ translating to musk in English, highlighting the musky fragrance of the flowering plant.

Grape hyacinths emerge as a favoured fragrance option, often incorporated into haircare and wellness products for their alluring scent. Although the plant bulbs are toxic, the flowers, however, have a history of being utilized for syrups and cordials. In addition, they boast a rich vitamin content, including vitamins A and C.

In conclusion, grape hyacinth flowers are an important early-season food for insects such as bees as they provide nectar and pollen.

Grape Hyacinth

©Grape Hyacinth Study by Sally Parker, ArtQuartet

Greek myths associate the plant with Demeter, Mother Earth, goddess of all seasons and her daughter Persephone who returned each spring from the underworld. Like many spring flowers, grape hyacinths emerge after winter, symbolizing renewal and the cyclical nature of life. They are a reminder of the beauty that can arise from periods of dormancy and darkness.

In the language of flowers, grape hyacinths frequently symbolize victory and triumph, representing the conquest of challenges and the attainment of success. These plants can endure and flourish in diverse conditions and are therefore sometimes linked to characteristics of endurance and strength. Muscari is often underestimated. The flowers are a reminder to appreciate the beauty in the small and unassuming aspects of life.

“The spring haze.

The scent already in the air.

The moon and ume.”

Matsuo Basho (1644-1694)


This haiku was written by the Japanese poet Matsuo Basho (considered the First Great Master of Haiku). The poet in this poem describes his evening walk in spring. He shares his feelings with the reader using expressive language. In three lines the poem appeals to all the senses. Ume refers to a fruit known as a ‘Japanese Apricot’ or ‘Chinese Plum’. Blossoms are beloved in Japan as they bloom with ethereal elegance and bestow a beautiful fragrance at the coldest times of the year. The trees bear white, pink or red blossoms in winter and are known as the first sign of the new spring. Plum blossoms are poetic symbols of spring, as they are elegant and pure in colour. Ume in folklore is a protective charm.

Japanese Apricot Blossom

©Japanese Apricot Blossom by Sally Parker

I extend my warmest wishes to everyone for a joyous and rejuvenating spring season! May the spirit of spring inspire new beginnings and fresh possibilities.

Best wishes,

Sally, ArtQuartet

Please send me your thoughts, feedback or suggestions on this blog. I read every message – and respond to nearly all.


‘Masterpieces of Japanese Culture’