Saturday, March 09, 2013

Hints of spring

At this time last year, the garden was a mass of blooms and we were eating all of our meals on the patio. Spring and summer rolled into one glorious month and then were washed away by months of unprecedented rain. The floods have now cleared but winter, apparently, has not yet ended. More rain, followed by icy winds and wintry showers are to come BUT today the sun is shining and the temperature is a very mellow 11 degrees (51 Fahrenheit).

When I went out to fill the bird feeders this morning, I noticed lots of signs of spring emerging and, knowing this might be my last opportunity for a while, I fetched my camera and recorded a few of them.

The dwarf daffodils have been open for a week now but today I spotted the first of the regular daffodils.
The camellia shrubs have also been in flower for a while, the earliest harbingers of spring in my sheltered garden. Lots of the outer flowers have fallen but I spotted one deep in the foliage and a whole lot of buds waiting to open and delight.

 Another early show comes from the pulmonaria, which I call pandemonium because of its tendency to run riot in the garden.

 I am reluctant to pick spring flowers because I know the early bumble bees need them but I know that these beautiful tulips will be eaten by mice overnight if I don't get them first, so I'll be out later to gather them:
If you look carefully at the next picture you might spot a dragon. He is one of the pets we have for the grandchildren. He's rather fond of hellebores and snowdrops.
Spring was the theme for our writing group this week and we heard a selection of poems, each of them inspiring but we did not use my personal favourite so here it is:

Nothing is so beautiful as spring --
When weeds, in wheels, shoot long and lovely and lush;
Thrush's eggs look little low heavens, and thrush
Through the echoing timber does so rinse and wring
The ear, it strikes like lightnings to hear him sing;
The glassy peartree leaves and blooms, they brush
The descending blue; that blue is all in a rush
With richness; the racing lambs too have fair their fling.

What is all this juice and all this joy?
A strain of the earth's sweet being in the beginning
In Eden garden. -- Have, get, before it cloy,
Before it cloud, Christ, lord, and sour with sinning,
Innocent mind and Mayday in girl and boy,
Most, O maid's child, thy choice and worthy the winning.

Gerard Manley Hopkins

The lushness of Hopkins' spring hasn't arrived in my garden yet but there are definitely some early hints of what is to come.


  1. There seems to be some similarities between our gardens today and our weather. The sun is very welcome and a little warmth. I also have the little daffodils in bloom, always the first ones to appear in our garden, and a few of the old daffodils that were planted by someone else decades ago. To have tulips we have to plant them each fall as the squirrels or something eat the bulbs. But the daffodils that we've planted over the years come back and now are showing fat buds. We don't have any of your "pandemonium" and camellias don't survive here even in our most sheltered spot. Will yours open soon? In another few weeks I'll feel that your Hopkins' spring is here. It's when my garden looks its best. But not yet.

    1. Dewena, my garden is at its best in May but last year everything went haywire; all the blooms came out in March and then the rain set in for the rest of the year and nothing grew but the weeds! I just don't know what to expect this year but I'll keep the camera handy just in case .....

    2. Maureen, I hope you see this new comment because it arrived! My Slightly Foxed arrived today! I love everything about it beginning with the padded envelope that says "Royal Mail." I had worked on a table setting this afternoon so immediately added the package and later the magazine, with its pretty yellow ribbon and darling foxy gift card to my table setting. My husband got pictures of it and I was going to try to work up something to post tomorrow. However, I got sidetracked exploring Slightly Foxed, turning first of course to your son's essay on The Wild Ginger Man. I will read it first, tonight when I go to bed. Naturally I've scanned the whole magazine, curious as to what Slightly Foxed is all about. I'm beginning to understand that there are the essays yes, but that the essays entice the reader into wanting to read the book that the essay/review is about.

      I can see that one thing is going to lead to another here.

      Thank you so much! I feel so fortunate to have won the year's subscription. And it is such a pretty thing, too! My post will go up soon to thank you for it there, maybe a couple of days if I can't pull myself away from Slightly Foxed.

    3. Dewena, I am so glad that you were delighted with your first edition of Slightly Foxed. I hope you will get as much pleasure from reading the articles (and any books you might be tempted to read as a result) as I do. I can't wait to see your table setting.

    4. Maureen, I am thoroughly enjoying Slightly Foxed and pictures of it will appear in my blog tomorrow. I think I have correctly done a link to your blog here in it but am going to type out the address just in case I did something wrong...not beyond the realm of possibility with me!

  2. Flowers! How very lovely..the miniature daffs are especially pleasing....we have ice and snow but Spring may come earlier this year... possibly :0)
    In reality we have Winter and Summer with very little Spring or Autumn. But we are growing Mustard and Cress indoors on Flannel ..and the light is fast returning..yipee

    1. It is the light that makes such a different, isn't it, Val? The long, long months of rain and grey, heavey skies have been so depressing. Enjoy your mustard and cress - do you have it on egg sandwiches? That's my favourite.

  3. You're a bit ahead of us. we're only seeing the tips of daffodils poking through. Love the dragon.


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