Even before the amazingly warm weather of the last week, I couldn’t keep pace. Not a cat in a warm greenhouse’s chance of sitting on the bench in the background and appreciating things, which is just as well –
because there’s a new tree just in front of it.
Well, not so that it blocks access to the bench, but it certainly partly blocks the view. It was intentional, I’m afraid; I’m lucky enough to be a bit careless of my views and it was the best place for it.
The tree is an eirin bach, the little wild plum which is very common round here. The fruit are like a gage in size, lovely and sweet, but with a damson tang, colour and bloom. Delicious. Fab in a jam, but sweet enough to eat warm from the tree.
Yerrrs, I think I’m counting my eirin bach before the fruit has set. Ahem.
We moved a couple of small trees from the wonderful garden of some friends in the next village, and we got them straight in here. They were a little big to move – necessitated by some landscaping – and we weren’t sure they’d survive, but they look really healthy (helped by P, the Pruning King). Fingers welded together. They should be fine.
There’s one thing about having a spring garden which can be a disadvantage – you’re frantically busy with other things when you also want to get all your veg seeds going, clear the kale, get the spuds in, not forget about the shallots or the onions, and what about the broad beans – phew. At least it’s easier to get to the greenhouse now, as there are some new stepping stones set into the grass:
The slope down to the greenhouse had deteriorated to the point where it was a bit like a kids’ ice slide, only with mud. Perfect for bum surfing. Lovely.
As is the magnolia in the bottom garden, and this time I’m not being ironic. At the start of last week there was the occasional bud almost ready to burst. Within a day or two, it was in full OTT bloom and draping itself over the roof of the old pigsty.
In its way, this is also a reminder to get on and do stuff. We’ve already emptied the log store, which automatically turns it into a lawnmower house for the season. But I need to sort out the pots and the lilies which are just next to it, and as for what’s actually in the pigsty – hmm. There’ll be more broken pots than I remembered, at least two bin liners full of miscellaneous rubbish that should really have been slung in the autumn, quite a lot of string and a pot trolley. I know there’s a pot trolley, because it’s close enough to the doorway for me to see it round the wheelbarrow and the giant bamboo pyramid that shelter outside the pigsty in the winter.
It’s all too depressing to contemplate (happily my slowly recovering hand gives me the perfect alibi when it comes to heavier work), so I’m contenting myself with meadow maintenance, seed sowing and never-ending dandelion removal.
The meadow is glorious this year, and I’m sure the sheer number of dandelions in it is diminishing.
On the other hand, so is the number of fritillaries, though that could simply be a function of this rather strange year. I’ve had barely a sniff of a frost – at no point has the ground been really frozen. The ones I have got are exquisite, though.
They are the most bizarre flowers – and, I think, some of the most beautiful. I’ve got some whites as well, but it’s the implausibility and precision of the chequered pattern on the purples which I love. I’ve got about the same number of purples as last year, but not so many whites. I’d normally expect an increase of both.
Maybe it’s just not been cold enough.
Lots of people are reporting blind daffs this year, and I’ve certainly got disappointing clumps which are normally prolific. Usually the Rosa rugosa hedge is full of doubles; this year there are lots of leaves and only three flowers. Most odd; hopefully we’ll be back to normal next year and I’m sure it’s down to the average winter temperature. But again, I have had some beauties, even if they’re being coy (this one reminds me of Lauren Bacall, all it needs is a cigarette):
I’m looking at it as quality (though not at a flower show level of perfection, oh well) over quantity. And a lot of them have been eaten, as I’ve already noted. Earwigs, baby snails – and today I spotted another reason.
Next Door’s Cat. Snacking. That animal is strange.
I don’t think, however, that it’s been responsible for the tulips as well. That could be birds, but fortunately the buds that are opening now are being ignored…
It’s a mystery, and I’m so glad that whatever it was has given up. I’m not sure what these tulips are – well, apart from high camp – as they were some cheapies I bought to go in tubs and then planted out. I am amazed by how often I do this successfully; I’ve always thought they wouldn’t flower again, and over the years I must have needlessly discarded lots.
This year’s pots are also full of some reduced-price tulips, and they are so wonderfully hot that they seem to raise the nearby temperature.
However, they do present me with a problem. They clash with everything that’s in the beds; maybe I’ll just have to keep them in containers. I’m sure I will really appreciate them when the weather gets colder, as is anticipated next week. The end of March has been very odd – the nearby town of Porthmadog was the hottest place in the UK one day, at well over 20 degrees C – but I’m not complaining. It’s been so refreshing to have dry weather and clear blue skies.
Er – clear skies except when they’re burning off the gorse behind us:
My village is directly in the path of that lot (just call it Pompeii). I wondered why it was getting gloomy above us while it was quite clear and sunny when I looked northwest, and I found out when I went to work. It was a beautifully controlled burn, though – honest.