I feel like I’m slowly emerging from hibernation. The weather isn’t perfect, in fact it’s raining again today but there has been a taste of spring over the last two weeks which has tempted me outdoors. It’s the last day of February today and technically the last day of winter but, as is quite typical for this time of year, the seasonal transition has brought some of the coldest weather so far. There’s a saying if March comes in like a lion then it’ll go out like a lamb and vice versa. Every year I mean to keep some sort of record of whether this has any real basis – I always forget. I hope the snow and frost predicted for this weekend count as March coming in like a lion and we’ll all be basking in spring sunshine by the end of the month.
The lengthening days and the warmth in the sun have given me enough of a spur to start tackling jobs in the garden. I had one of those days last week when I didn’t plan on doing anything in particular, just a bit of cold frame re-jigging, but before I knew it the patio was a sea of pots as both the cold frames and greenhouse were emptied entirely, staging was removed and there I was giving them a full-blown spring clean. I didn’t realise how dirty the greenhouse had got until I had finished and it was now sparkling in the late afternoon sunshine.
This sudden burst of enthusiasm had been prompted to a certain extent by some weekend seed sowing and the realisation that space was already a bit on the tight side. Reorganisation was needed. It’s already looking like another one of those years where my plans far outstrip the space I have to carry them out.
It’s always a pity when good weather is so limited to spend a glorious day inside when there’s so much I could be doing outside, but my trip to London and the RHS Lindley Library last week had been planned for a while. Still, if I was going to be indoors on a sunny day there can’t be many better places to be. It was my first visit and it was garden book bliss. I was there doing research and got through quite a few books in my limited time but I had only scratched the surface of what was on the shelves. I can’t wait to go back there again.
A few days by the sea in South Devon at the start of this week gave us a much needed break. It was a pity to hear from the owner of the bed and breakfast that people had cancelled their planned breaks because of the recent storms. There were places where there was visible storm damage, sand bags, trees uprooted and plants burnt to a crisp by salt-laden winds but, in general, it’s remarkable how unscathed most places were. For areas so dependent on tourism it’s incredibly important to support the local economy and the best way to do this is go there on holiday. I don’t know why I’m always surprised at how much milder it is in the south-west. In the sheltered little fishing villages and coves there were scented narcissi in full bloom already. I have the same bulbs on my cut flower patch and even though it has been a mild winter, with hardly any frost, it’ll be another month or so before mine flower.
I picked the first posy of flowers from the allotment yesterday – a handful of Anemone coronaria, and there are primroses galore in the garden so I have a few small jars of those dotted about the house too. With seedlings appearing in trays on the windowsill and packages of seeds and bulbs arriving through the post it all feels quite exciting. For me this is the real start to the new year.
I’m glad you’ve been able to begin your gardening year! Today here it is suddenly quite cold again even withthe sun shining. My anemones have been flowering for a while (well Sylphide has) Not sure why that variety is so much earlier than all the others but I’m not complaining.
Wendy Shillam said:
Lovely blog, infused with your inimitable spring fever!
I feel very sorry for areas hit by flooding. Yes, we all should support them.
I bet this weather will have slowed our supposed economic rebirth.
For the globalwarming Doubting Thomas’s amongst us, let’s all notice that the countries and counties that have invested in sustainability are now reaping the rewards.
If anything comes out of this dreadful winter it should be a lesson to make ourselves more resiliant.
I thought we had finished with the storms, but last night one of our next door neighbours ancient oaks snapped at a fork and will have to come down, winter hasn’t finished with us yet!
I’m glad you enjoyed your stay in Devon, I think you must have had quite a good week weatherwise.
Spring is definitely knocking on the door, let’s hope winter gives way soon.
How lovely to get away for a few days to Devon, such a beautiful part of the country. It doesn’t matter how many years I’ve been gardening for, this time of the year never fails to excite me as new flower growth emerges, bulbs burst in to bloom and seed packets are torn open and wait to be sown. And so, another gardening year begins.
Happy New Year WW! It’s great to get those first seeds sown isn’t it and to feel that enthusiasm returning. Here we’ve actually had two dry days in a row. Glad to read that you enjoyed a well earned break in a beautiful part of the country. Have never been to the Lindley Library but it sounds my idea of bliss. Hope that you will be able to pick more scented spring posies this weekend.
Yes, the “first foray” is always exciting. It’s so exhilarating, to be outside in your garden assessing your plot. It doesn’t matter how much or how little you actually do, the satisfaction of making a start is euphoric. It always seems overpowering what needs to be done but that doesn’t matter. There is no better way to spend a sunny spring(?) day!
Glad you enjoyed your break. Now that library sounds like my idea of heaven! Must investigate!
I love the south coast from Kent right through to Cornwall. There are so many areas of beauty in the UK and gardens to visit, I’m quite content to live without a passport! Great that you’ve got your greenhouse sorted, my windows are shameful at the moment and need a good spring clean. Trouble is, with only so many hours in the week (I squeeze 40 hours work into 3 days, then there’s college), I prioritise the garden over housework. Your trip to the Lindley sounds good (another book in the offing?) – I love the library at Capel, so the Lindley would be paradise!
PS. Currently reading your book – loving it – review soon.
Laura Bloomsbury said:
March looks unsettled but then surely that is the meaning of Spring – we disturb the earth & prod the plants back into action. Glad to see the sap is rising in you and wishing you a wonderful gardening year
It’s good to see that you’ve been busy and had a few days away as well.
You’re obviously happier as well, as indeed I think we all are, now that spring is here and we can start the new season at last. xx
It’s good to feel the sun again and like you, I’m more motivated and have started cutting back, sowing seeds, planting up pots with cheerful flowers. The longest month is finally over, before we now it spring will be here. Are you working on a new book?
Yes, an exciting time of preparing for growth – hope you can get a full season of it.
It’s true, the beginning of spring feels like a much brighter place to start than the short days where the calendar begins. Sounds like a lovely jaunt away to revitalise you.
It will be another month before we see Daffs in bloom here in NW Ireland too. Crocus are out though…a little earlier than usual think but such a welcome sight. We lost a lot of trees in the recent storms too. Interestingly most of them were non natives,
Diana Studer said:
oh I agree with you. Our garden year begins in March – after the last gasp of long hot summer, when it turns cooler, the sun is kind, we might get some rain – and everything turns green. Freesia bulbs poking thru today!