Nothing is so beautiful as spring – Gerard Manley Hopkins
Birds are singing. Landing on the fencepost they pause, check all is clear, dart to the feeder and back to the post in the blink of an eye. A robin, blue tits, chaffinches. Magpies launch themselves at the fat ball holder, blackbirds peck at fallen seeds. Two pigeons, one fat, one thin, drink from the pond.
Flowers are opening, welcoming the sun. Crocuses, hellebores, cowslip, primroses. The tulips are appearing, still wrapped up tightly.
Glossy green leaves of the Laurel gleam in the shining sunlight.
The first giant bumblebee of the year buzzes past my ear.
Frog spawn wobbles in the pond and we stop to watch two woodpeckers on our walk.
Spring is here. The seasons roll on.
Wishing you all good health and peace.
I am reading ‘The Girl who Circumnavigated Fairyland’ by Catherine M.Valentine
I am, I confess, a fair weather gardener. This does make me appreciate the good days even more though.
On wet, dreary, dare I say dreich, days I’m more inclined to be inside but there’s one thing I do know, learning about gardening will never end. There’s always something to discover. Each day is a new opportunity.
When I was a child I watched ‘Beechgrove Garden’ and ‘Gardeners’ World’. As the beauty of the flowers filled the screen their name was listed at the bottom. Not once but twice. The common and the Latin name. The presenters would effortlessly reel off these unusual names and I would listen, unaware that years later I would begin to attempt to learn them myself.
I have a Twitter account and have already stated my intention to learn some Latin names for plants. Apparently if you share an aim with someone it makes you more likely to achieve it. Here’s hoping.
Already I have been encouraged. Watching Monty Don on ‘Gardeners’ World’, he explained how the name for Sedum had been changed to Hylotelephium – this was one of the (as yet few) names I had already learned.
The days may be dark and cold outside but there’s always something to learn and this way I can combine my love of language and gardening. What a winter treat.
At the moment I am reading, ‘The Cabaret of Plants’ by Richard Mabey – slowly. I’m not very fast at reading non-fiction!
I haven’t been out in the garden much recently. Instead I’ve been doing lots of looking out of the window and thinking about garden jobs for the Spring.
Mostly I’ve been enjoying our houseplants as they bring us happiness with their beauty and health giving properties.
During the past year I made a resolution to learn the Latin names for plants in our garden. Well I’m hoping to keep that up and am extending it to some houseplants. This beautiful Peace Lily has the Latin name Spathiphyllum wallisii.
Like the Amaryllis flower pictured here, my New Year’s Resolutions are emerging slowly. I began with ‘I’d like to read more’ and now I’ve added ‘I’d like to write more’.
I know I am supposed to make ‘SMART’ targets so the next thing I need to do will be to break down these resolutions and put time scales etc next to them. That may come later, for now, I’m just going to pick up a book and enjoy reading.
Whatever and however you do your New Year’s Resolutions, I wish you well.
At the moment I am reading ‘Girl, Woman, Other’ by Bernardine Evaristo (with maybe one or two other books alongside!)
I never think of myself as a non-fiction reader and yet here I am, having recently finished reading Michelle Obama’s ‘Becoming’ and one of my favourite summer reads this year was ‘Robbing The Bees’ by Holley Bishop. It’s a mixture of fact and fiction (faction, narrative non-fiction?) published in 2005 and hugely enjoyable.
The thing is though, it only heightened my wish to have bee hives. I’m like a child who wants a pet and is not thinking at all about the practicalities.
One of the things I love about going to farmshops and summer fairs is the chance to buy local honey and after reading Bishop’s book I’ve been left thinking that I should eat more honey, with all its health benefits. In fact I think I’m going to try to have a spoonful of honey every day. What a lovely thought!
I went away on holiday for two weeks. This must be every gardener’s dilemma, do I go on holiday just when the garden is looking good, when so much growth is happening, so many raspberries to pick, tomatoes to water? I’ve read as much as I can about looking after plants when I go away, I try my best then just have to hope.
Inevitably I return and spend happy moments with my head in the flowerbeds examining the growth and appreciating the lushness of Nature laid out before me. Yes, some fruit has gone over but there are ripe juicy raspberry bubbles left to pick and savour on my meanderings. There are potatoes to dig up, bursting up through the tongs of my fork from their hiding place in the dark, crumbling soil.
Not everything is rosy, my Kilmarnock willow looks distinctly sad, the wildflower patch didn’t take off as well as last year but I’m learning. It’s worth giving it a go, plant the seeds, they might grow.
Stunning cornflowers, starfaced borage, blousy lilies welcome me home and I have returned, inspired, fresh faced and with enthusiasm.
Cornflowers (grown from seed I collected last year- I’m so pleased about that!) and Borage.
Yet the borage, geraniums and cornflowers are still blooming. They’re not giving in yet!
Many times over the past month I’ve walked into a room thinking I’ve left a light on only to find it’s the warm, golden sun streaming through the windows.
It may be starting to get colder but the beauty of the autumnal light and the bright burning colours of the leaves are a real gift.
Mother Nature is teaching us again. Who else reminds us day by day, minute by minute to appreciate what we have before it is gone? Always with the reassurance that bright days will return.
For the cherry blossoms bursting forth are fleeting, the bright gaudy summer blooms will fade, the burnt reds and oranges of autumn leaves will fly away and the frost sketchings on our window panes will melt.
It’s in the name, seasons. Only there for a short time. Enjoy, revel, take time, notice, appreciate.
Do you have a favourite season and, if so, is it the one you were born in?
When I started writing this blog I was very aware I didn’t want it to be a relentless round of cheery posts with no indication of the reality of life.
On the way I’ve found it to be so much harder to write a blog post about sadness. I don’t want to be the person spreading sadness and yet there are always things that upset, worry and make me sad.
No one has fabulous days every day.
It’s the tough days that make me appreciate the good ones all the more
So if I post a photo of my garden, I’ll usually take it on a bright, sunny day. Sometimes I’ll have to wait for quite a few days for the sun to appear and when it does I’m out there, really appreciating the light.
For every flower, fruit, vegetable and so on I’ve been proud of, there have been the plants I’ve put in the wrong position, or not fed correctly, or something (who knows what!) and they’ve not survived.
However, every seed, every bulb, every plant has been planted with optimism – I’m going for the cup is half full!
I guess there’s ups and downs in nature and in life but I’m going to keep on plugging away.