The first few weeks of spring are probably my favourite time of year. For me, it’s defined as between the days lengthening so I’m not travelling to and from work in darkness and when the clocks change. For those few weeks of the year, I can even do mornings! I think it’s a feeling that comes from the smell in the cool, bright and crisp air and the sense that everything is just waking up from its winter nap, from the ever increasing bird song to the buds swelling on trees and shrubs.
Far be it for me to complain about having to actually work for a living at the moment, but the weekends seem to be coming around thick and fast and I was in the mood to make the most of it in a way that didn’t involve hurtling. Yesterday was a lovely bright and warm day, so I combined a bit of catching up in the garden and the opportunity to go for a walk around a nearby cross country course.
Well, I did most of the walking, but there was quite a bit of trotting, cantering and a few jumps involved too. I failed at charging my GPS battery so I’m not sure quite how far we walked, but 2 hours keeping up with a dawdling horse suggests about 6 miles, although that was interspersed with a bit of practice taking photos of swiftly moving and jumping targets. There was plenty of interesting bits and pieces to see, one clearing had a few well clipped yew trees that had seen a winter or 2, another tree had possibly the world’s biggest bird box in it, the opening was big enough to admit a badger, although I didn’t think that Meles Pterodactini had made it this far.
The area lent itself very nicely to a good afternoon’s stroll, the ground was firm but not concrete, the woods were clear enough to admit some hazy sun beams and the birds were ever a-tweetin’. Dodging startled horses when a pheasant erupts from the undergrowth was an added bonus.
The garden is definately starting up again, the Astilbes are showing their first few shoots, the oriental poppies are well into growth and the buds on the fruit bushes and trees are swelling. Winter wasn’t without its casualties though, the sage bushes are looking very unhappy with life and most of my baby conifers have croaked. Fingers are crossed for my deciduous treelings, but I wouldn’t expect much from them for another month yet. The tomato seeds have gone into a propagator along with the ball courgettes. I haven’t space for a main crop of tomatoes (I normally grow Alicante, a later crop but more resilient to abuse), so I’m going for an early bush variety I’ve had past successes with, F1 Totem. They should hopefully be ready to plant out in 3-5 weeks, when we should have seen the last of the cold snap I’m expecting.