This is my favourite time of year: when the bare branches of winter begin to sparkle with flashy green tips; when tentative blossoms begin to emerge from their cosy cocoons.
What purer manifestation of hope could there be? Fresh, clean, and so beautifully innocent. Of course it is also a time when weeds burgeon and frosts threaten to destroy your autumn fruit crops, but the less said about that the better. Although I must admit that the weeds have been helping to rehabilitate me during my recent bout of covid19; a few minutes of gentle weeding being all I can manage for outdoor activity as I recuperate slowly in my solitary confinement. I have also managed to get my veg seeds sown in their trays and pots in my tiny garden shed. What a warm haven it is for me in there, and what a fabulously cosy place to incubate if you’re a seed. Before I fell into the clutches of the corona virus I had been setting forth with great vigour to tidy and prepare my garden for the forthcoming year. A recently felled hedge of Leylandii has had to be sawn into short stubby logs that will fit comfortably in my little log burner next winter; the recently felled shed must still be chopped into equally small pieces to fulfill as similar fate; and the brambles that had been left for far too many years, in my absence, really had to be bundled unceremoniously into the inadequately sized green wheely bins. I can’t deny that I had a rather spectacular crop of blackberries last year, but they were tainted by a certain shame that they had been gathered in my very own garden. Well not this year. The back garden is beginning to take the shape of an actual garden, and I have plans stirring in my head to move a few shrubs, take cuttings of others and to create a border that contains a mixture of flowers, shrubs, fruit and veg.
It’s a small cottage garden, and whilst it feels like quite a lot to look after sometimes, there isn’t really room to have a separate veg patch, especially considering the enormous magnolia tree that shades a large part of it from not only the sun, but also the rain. That section is home to the hostas and the dicentra. They don’t seem to mind their friend’s overarching rapaciousness. At this time of year though she does allow the nurturing light and the juicy raindrops to fall through her empty branches to the soil below. The wild garlic is more than grateful. I myself am not sure if the garlic should be encouraged. I think it might have got above itself, and that it might be time to slow its rampaging progress a little. I would like to see some lily of the valley under the tree, or perhaps some pretty white wood anemones.