The end of the Easter holidays – fallen cherry blossom on the tennis court where the boys played with their friends. If I were a poet I’d attempt a Haiku, but as I’m not, this photo will have to do.
I’ve got a parasite! Woo-hoo!
Ok this may not be a typical response to getting a parasite, but I promise you this is not looking on the bright side gone mad, nor have I completely taken leave of my senses. This is not a typical parasite. It is the attractive, unusual and perhaps slightly sinister looking purple toothwort Lathraea Clandestina, and technically I don’t have the parasite, the willow “fedge” (fence / hedge – click here) around the tree-house does.
Spring is really springing. It is cold, and periodically wet. There is hail, and winds, and some days it looks like winter is coming back with a vengeance, but it’s just a temporary illusion. We are definitely winning. The tulips are out, the late daffodils too (the earlies are packing up already), and blossom is well, blossoming. It is all burgeoning, as Carol Klein would rightly say. I love it all, but I think I love the greens the most.
The one thing that has survived, and perhaps even enjoyed the floods is the rhubarb. The crown is just proud of the water level so it didn’t rot off, and rhubarb is legendary for its love of water. I remember my father saying that in his experience rhubarb even liked being watered in the rain. He may have been exaggerating a little bit.
It’s been a beautiful day. The mist burned away by 9 o-clock, and since then the sun has been beaming down on upon us from a perfectly blue sky such as children would paint. It has been a day for being out in the garden, which means that once the sun goes down, and the children have too, I will be condemned to hours on the computer to finish my work, but it will have been worth it.
Today is the 1st of March (you probably noticed), Saint David’s day. Saint David is the patron saint of Wales, land of song, rugby, daffodils, leeks, welsh cakes and bara brith.
Above the winter bulbs, and the hellebores, are the flowering shrubs. This being a limey, chalky garden I don’t have any of the witch-hazels that I admire in books. Instead I have viburnum, sarcococca, mahonia, and the odd solitary rose bud in a protected nook against a house wall. This last never looks quite right, or happy, in January, and will never open even if picked and brought inside.
Ours is not a garden of winter flowers. I still find it beautiful in winter, but that is great part due the plant forms, dead, alive, with or without leaves, that fill it. Structure helps it at this time of the year too. It’s (very, very) far from being a perfectly constructed garden. In many ways it’s a bit scruffy, and in many ways, so is its owner. It is however an attractive scruffiness, at least in the case of the garden, that works in this rural setting, and gives due place to both the plants and man-made structures (stone labyrinth, hedge enclosures, rose arbour) that give it shape.
The aconites are back! Even in bud they make my heart jump, because they are already beautiful, and because of the promise of what is to come.
The bird-gang have discovered the “pond” that the rain has made at the bottom of the garden. It was only a matter of time I suppose. The hens, of course, are singularly unimpressed. They skim the edges of it to get to the rich bug pickings in the flower beds, looking rather put out. The ducks and geese however, are in water-fowl heaven.