Something spring-like this way comes
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Bid farewell to snowdrops and say hello to daffodils and crocuses as a new season makes its presence felt outdoors.
There’s a definite feeling of spring in the air this week - at times I have been too warm to wear a coat in the sunshine, and the sun certainly seems to be shining more and more.
The increase of light in the evenings continues, and it won’t be long before we are changing the clocks and feeling a real difference to the daylight hours.
The garden is starting to come into her own - the days of hiding away and the demure smattering of snowdrops are being replaced with a braver show - she has gained in confidence, and replaced the pure white innocence of the snowdrops; the brash and showy daffodils are here. The stems have been waiting for what feels like an eternity, but one by one they are opening up - dropping their coats to expose the stunning bright ballgowns underneath. It’s absolutely impossible not to look upon this sight and smile.
Even to those who do not garden, the sight of a cluster of daffodils must be enough to lighten the heart. I find it impossible not to buy them on the market - bunches thrust into jam jars and milk bottles on every spare surface in the house - and although once cut they don’t last terribly long, the happiness they bring for those days is worth every penny.
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Every year I forget how many bulbs I have planted - every year when the bulbs come up I am pleasantly surprised by how they seem to multiply. My husband looked out at the display in our garden yesterday and asked when they’d all been planted - he couldn’t believe how many there seemed to be this year - certainly the flower beds are teeming with them at the moment - all jostling to be seen - their faces illuminated in the spring sunlight.
With the luminous brilliance of their colour, it’s easy to be blinded by the daffodils, and not see the other, more subtle spring flowers which accompany their presence at this time. Sometimes these are by far the most beautiful - the hellebores with their delicately patterned petals - each one looking as though they have been hand painted with the most intricate brushwork.
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Crocuses - with the most passionate of colours - the yellow ones can be so vivid - reminding me of breaking into a boiled breakfast duck-egg - the yellow so intense and rich that you could paint with it. The purple crocuses are my personal favourite though - for some reason they always remind me of Easter - maybe the lovely purple of the cloth hangings in church during the Lent season, but they seem to open their faces to the world - with the tempting yellow pollen inside ready for the early bees to collect.
On a sunny spring day, there are few sights more welcome to me than watching as a busy bee quivers around a crocus flower - the slight chill in the air reminding me that the winter hasn’t yet quite bid it’s goodbye, but the sun on my face showing that summer won’t be long to follow.
Thinking of Easter, there are few flowers which make me think of spring, and specifically Easter, so much as the primrose. Such a pretty little flower, and so unassuming. I love the way that you can still see them in woodlands, and dotted along countryside roadsides.
The yellow of the primrose is not really seen much elsewhere within nature. It has a hue all of it’s own - so light that it’s almost not yellow at all - but the palest of green - but such a quiet colour, muted, and pleasing to the eye. The leaves don’t seem to quite match the delicate nature of the flowers, so broad with their verdant green texture - they are functional, practical and strong.
At this time of year it’s easy to find the time to get outdoors. Working out in the garden on spring days is surely one of life’s greatest pleasures. Warm enough to work in shirtsleeves (if you’re working hard enough) and definitely possible to find a sunny place to sit and have a cup of restorative tea when you are taking a break from toil.
This pleasure which is denied to me this year - too pregnant to be able to get down on my hands and knees to weed the flowerbeds - or at least restricted by how far I can bend over my bump, I am forced to watch from the sidelines, and to think of how this time next year I will hopefully have a little helper to be toddling around me as I do the jobs I should be doing this year.
People tell me that this is a great time of year to have a baby - I think for birthdays in years to come, they are right - but for how much I’m restricted in getting on with the garden this year, I think I’ve planned it badly!!
I spend a lot of my time at the moment looking out of the window at the garden - enjoying the colours that are emerging, and appreciating having made the effort to plant the bulbs in previous years - this is the joy of spring bulbs - they will continue to reward the work you put in, year on year.
It’s very easy to enjoy the spring inside the house as well though, with cheap bunches of spring flowers available in basically every supermarket or market you pass. They tend to be inexpensive, and they change the whole feel of a room so easily. The end of this month is of course rounded off by Mothering Sunday - another traditional excuse for giving flowers to the special lady in your life - I’m hoping my baby might be here by then, but I fear she may be stubborn and hang in there until the very last minute.
For those of you who will be buying flowers for their wives, or partners, or mothers to say thank you - try to buy local, try to buy seasonal, and remember that you can always buy a plant rather than cut flowers as they’ll last much longer and be enjoyed for twice as long if not more!
Whatever you do this month, make sure you get outside and enjoy the coming of spring!