Goodbye snow, bring on the spring
- Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto
After last week’s epic snowfall, our gardening columnist hopes we’ve finally seen the back of winter - and the start of spring
As I sit writing this, the snow is still lying in piles on the ground in the garden outside. It looks almost absurd to see the bright yellow of the daffodils that lay squashed beneath the weight of the snow trying to rear themselves again.
For the last week I have felt quite forlorn about the delay to spring that has been caused by the bad weather. With a little one who isn’t quite big enough to be outside enjoying the snow, it has left us slightly confined to barracks, and left me pining for the weather and the flowers that I had been so looking forward to.
Looking out of the window as the snow fell, and covered up each and every one of my lovely snowdrops and daffodils in the garden, I really started to feel that it was unfair when they had been offering such bright hope for the coming spring. As the snow melts, I find that they are reappearing one by one - and although some of them are slightly worse for wear - they are still opening and trying to keep their heads up.
I am hopeful that with the disappearing snow, we have seen the back of the winter. I have to say that this year, more than ever before, I am looking forward to the spring.
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Having never before been confined by anyone else’s needs - the bad weather has never really bothered me too much - an extra coat, and some wellingtons for the walk to work, has been about the most inconvenience it has ever caused me (except the time my house flooded with torrential rain in 2007... but we don’t talk about that...).
I have done some gardening in a greenhouse, or in my little gardening room in my old house, and I haven’t let the weather curtail my time outside. In our current house I don’t have this luxury, This year I find that I am yearning for the lighter days - time to spend in the garden in the evenings when the baby has gone to sleep.
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Something that is often written about (particularly at this time of the year) is Seasonal Affective Disorder - something which will probably strike a chord with many of us, particularly gardeners.
Although most of us won’t have symptoms which affect us in the same way as SAD sufferers, we will sympathise with feeling down when the days are grey and the mornings and evenings are dark.
You regularly hear people saying how much their mood lifts when they have a day of unexpected sunshine in the early spring. Being able to wear short sleeves in March and April is a real boost to the endorphins, and it’s not surprising that many people like to go away to the sunshine after the months of rain and cold.
In no time at all, the clocks will be changing - our days will be longer, and we’ll soon find that the windows are open to let the spring air into the house.
I have noticed that daffodils are now for sale in all of the supermarkets, and I find myself tempted to buy them every time. They never last as long as you’d like them to, when they’re in a warm house - probably only three to four days - but for the time they are open, they are so cheerful and bright, that they really transform a room.
Within the next few weeks the daffodils will start to give way to the tulips, and before we know it, Easter will be upon us, and with it, hopefully the primroses that often come with it.
Primroses always feel like the true sign of spring - I guess because they come hand in hand with Easter.
I prefer their gentle yellow colour to the gaudy yellow that daffodils sometimes have.
Primroses (primula vulgaris) are native to the British Isles and can often be seen in hedgerows and on motorway banks. They thrive in most soil conditions and they also spread really well - so they are a great addition to the garden.
One thing that many people won’t be aware of, because they see primroses in gardens rather than picking them - are that they have a beautiful fragrance.
Next time you’re weeding the flower beds next to a primrose - get down and have a sniff!
Things to do in the garden this month
*If you’re planning to grow sweet peas and you’ve not already got them in, now is the time to get them in.
*It won’t be necessary to mow the lawns for a couple of weeks, but by the end of the month it might be time. If you’ve got a petrol mower, it’s a good idea to get some fuel now, rather than waiting until it’s time to use them and finding out that you don’t have any!
*You can start getting your potatoes in towards the end of the month. It feels as though the ground would be too cold at the moment, but hopefully in a few weeks time it will be warm enough. Good Friday is normally a good benchmark for getting them in!
*If you are planting beetroot you can plant some early ones now, it’s a good idea to put further ones in a few weeks later so that the crops can follow each other.
Whatever you choose to do in the garden this month, make the most of the longest daylight hours and enjoy the changing seasons!