After a week of mild weather the garden feels like it has really shaken off the last vestiges of winter. The snowdrops are no more but have been replaced by the golden glow of daffodils and clumps of primroses. Hellebores are still going strong and they have been joined by pulmonarias and grape hyacinths. But the sight that fills me with most joy is the tiny buds on my crab apple that are starting to unfurl. On Saturday I was doing the washing up and looking out of my kitchen window when I thought the branches looked different, squinting through the glass it looked like little specks of green were appearing. Abandoning my dishes and pans to investigate further I was greeted by this sight.
At the start of last week I had the not so pleasant job of removing the mummified fruit that were left on the tree. Last year had been a particularly good year for fruit and the tree had provided blackbirds, starlings, thrushes and redstarts with some vital food through the winter but there are always fruit that they don’t get to.
It’s not essential with a crab apple to remove the mummified fruit, I do it for aesthetic reasons. Not wanting the old wizened fruit to detract from the blossom that will start to appear over the next month. However, with a tree that provides eating apples it is important to remove any old fruit remaining on the tree as these can harbour diseases. I couldn’t get to all of the old fruit, especially those on branches over-hanging the neighbour’s garden but it still looked better for a bit of a tidy up. The smell from the apples was a quite potent, fermenting apple juice aroma. The excitement of what is to come over the next month as tight pink flower buds appear and then unfold to produce whitish pink blossom is building.
Not only this but I discovered the soft, almost furry, flower buds on an early flowering Clematis. My honeysuckle is now covered in leaves and roses are springing into life. In fact, everywhere I look are signs of plants emerging, it’s like being reunited with old friends. I wander around the garden stopping and puzzling over plants appearing. I redesigned a couple of borders in my garden last autumn and I can’t remember where I put certain plants. I was also very kindly given some plants by gentleman from the allotments which I planted up but I couldn’t remember what I’d done with them. I’m really looking forward to seeing how my redesign will work.
The garden isn’t the only place with signs of new life. My cold frame and kitchen window sill have trays and pots of seeds pushing through. I have broad beans waiting to go up to the allotment, sweet peas that I have pinched out the growing tips to make bushier plants and edible peas which are just germinating. There are celeriac seedlings that need pricking out and only a week after sowing I have my first hardy annuals for my cut flower patch. I have a ritual every morning of opening the blind in the kitchen and then checking my seeds. Even though I know it’s not possible for seeds to germinate overnight I will check them the day after sowing. It generally takes between 7 to 14 days for seeds to germinate so I was really surprised to find seeds sown last Tuesday had germinated by Saturday and that I could see my first echium and scabious plants.
There’s plenty to do, with the busiest time for gardeners upon us. So on that note I’m off to sow some more sweet peas and having read other blogs it sounds like I should introduce some leek seeds to some compost. Happy seed sowing!!!