Leeds nostalgia: green fingers in the heart of winter

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This week’s film, courtesy of Yorkshire Film Archive, a link for which is available on our website

Made by Betty and Cyril Ramsden, this film shows the couple, with the help of their brother-in-law, Leslie, tending to their garden through the seasons at their home in Headingley, Leeds. The couple were semi-professional filmmakers filming both for pleasure and taking on commissions from companies such as the Yorkshire Evening Post.

The film opens with a shot of a sunny garden with lots of green grass and a path down the middle. There are lingering shots of snow drops in bloom. Betty’s brother-in-law, Leslie puts on his gardening boots, and in the next shot, he is digging in a flower bed. As he bends over to work, he looks through his legs and puts out his hand in a hand shake. Cyril and Leslie throw white powder over the flowerbeds and there is a brief shot of a boot compacting mud around a plant.

Close-ups are taken of orange flowers, and there is a shot of a box being removed from the flowerbed to reveal rhubarb. Leslie comes out of a shed with a bundle of twigs and piles them up. He then stacks some wooden boxes.

This is followed by lingering shots of cherry blossom trees and of some other trees in the garden. Cyril mixes cement and puts it between some slabs on the garden path.

Title-Summer’s Glory

This scene opens with a shot of Betty right in the middle of a flowerbed full of flowers. Cyril walks up the garden path with a bucket of water and a hose. He starts pumping the water and Betty wets him with the hose. He then does the hosing himself. This is followed by scenes of the whole garden including the rockeries, the trees and the lawn. Then there is a shot of the side of the house and of more flowerbeds.

Betty and another man walk down the garden path towards the camera. Cyril starts up a lawnmower with a hand starter. Betty trims the edges of the lawn and there is a shot of a butterfly on a flower.

Title-Autumn’s Harvest

Green apples are on an apple tree. Betty gathers apples from the tree, and then she pulls weeds from the flower beds before wheeling a wheelbarrow full of weeds up the path.

Title-Winter’s Cloak

Cyril is outside wearing a winter coat, he blows on his hands. The garden is covered in frost, and there are close-ups of the frosty plants. Cyril sweeps snow off a path and that is followed by a brief shot of a leafless tree. He makes a snowball and throws it in the direction of the camera. Very heavy snow has fallen in the garden, and Cyril can be seen shovelling snow from the front of the garden. The house is covered with snow, and large icicles hang from the house. Cyril holds two large icicles in his hands and licks one of them. Betty shovels big lumps of snow from the path and piles it to the side. She leans on her spade.

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