Monthly Musing – March 2015 – Anticipating spring
spending time recently going through my box of seeds and – my favourite part –
looking through seed catalogues to decide what I’m going to grow in my garden
this year. My husband has been muttering
that the garden has looked particularly neglected this winter, and it’s true –
bare branches, bare earth, no sign of any life at all apart from one or two
winter-flowering shrubs and now the snowdrops, suggesting that winter may be
nearly over. I’m looking forward to the
spring flowers that I know are resting just below ground level, to those
flashes of brightness that catch the eye and gladden the heart.
will tell you that winter isn’t over until the frost-risk has passed – in this
part of the country it can even be as late as May – but the lighter nights and
changes in the smell in the air are a sure sign that spring is definitely on
it’s way. The dog has noticed the
changes too. He spends his walks dashing
into the bushes, digging at apparently nothing in the ground until he appears
with something in his mouth (I don’t always look too closely at what that might
be!). We see birds with beaks full of
twigs and grasses, ready to renovate or build new nests. We’ve noticed more and more squirrels as we
walk through the woods, rooting out the food that they buried in the autumn
(although the dog may have got there first!).
All around us are signs of life, and it’s wonderful to see.
As much as I
love the winter, I do like this time of year.
There’s a sense of anticipation that warmer weather and brighter skies
are just around the corner. I love the
envelope that arrives from the seed company, full of little packets of potential. These seeds will grow to be flowers and
vegetables, a pleasure for our eyes and for our plates. Every
year is a new opportunity to start again, to review what grew well and what
didn’t, and to try out new varieties of plants.
It’s an exciting time! I find it
very hard to make myself wait just another couple of weeks before starting my
seed-sowing until the light is just that bit better and my seedlings will grow
strong and sturdy rather than tall and leggy.
It’s hard because I’m an impatient gardener, but that’s why gardening is
good for me!
In those few
weeks, the first leaves on the trees will begin to blur the stark winter
outlines and the whole landscape will become softer. Winter sowings in the farmers’ fields will
suddenly spring to life and almost overnight, the fields will be full of crops
rather than ploughed earth. It’s quite
incredible that this is something that happens every year, and yet still has
the capacity to make us stop and wonder at how nature knows it’s the right time
to change the season. Clever, eh? Welcome, spring!