The vernal equinox has passed; the sun has crossed the plane of the earth’s equator and about bloody time, too. Thereafter, each northern day that passes gifts us with more daylight than darkness. This blissful state of affairs continues until the autumn, when the whole business swings back in the opposite direction.
Fatsia japonica (Japanese aralia) “Spider’s Web”
After months of choosing which one job takes priority out of three, suddenly I am faced with dozens of tasks, all of equal importance. Lawns need mowing, roses require an overhaul, the buddleias could do with a massacre and most of all, the weeds want urgent and pitiless attention. Usually I start with the latter, clearing around the Helleborus, cutting down spent leaves and picking over the soil beneath to remove all competition. I love my Lenten roses far beyond all sanity, so I’m very thorough. This year I was bitching to Botanical Barbara, that they never seeded themselves in my garden. With her usual gentle grace and sweet charm she moved aside the foliage to reveal a host of love children with greenery most unlike their parents. Well that’s pissed on my chips, I have been eradicating these for some years, not realising their provenance. Bastards. I shall pot up some seedlings and pass them to my friend, to show that on receipt of good news, I bear no grudges.
Nepenthes (pitcher plant) flower bud
If you listened to me when I nagged you last year, you will have bought some bulbs. My garden is bejewelled with hyacinths, Narcissus (daffodils) and tulips, the foremost bearing a spectacular perfume which hits you around the head like a man-sized shovel. In December I went to Liverpool and crammed my daughter’s city garden with hundreds of bulbs, to enliven her spring cheer. Now she tells me that she’s spent three months watching the squirrels eating them all. That’s my wildlife friendly, Attenborough stalking, hedgehog fondling credentials out of the window. Next year I’m buying her a shotgun. She suggested that I plant some more, in order to see the wildlife through a few future lean patches but despite appearances, I’m not that foolish. Should I see any members of the genus Sciuridae licking their chops, either bog standard grey or designer red, they would be well advised to make their peace with their maker. Their fur was used on clothing and fancy footwear as miniver, hence Cinderella’s slipper, mistranslated from the French as verre, or glass. You can bake the beastly creatures in pies, apparently. Damn this vegetarianism.
Polyanthus ‘Gold Lace’
Rainy or cold days see me ensconced in the shed, re-potting ornamental Acers (sycamore sp.) while they are still dormant. Seeds have been sown in various situations of hope, indeed, some have germinated already. Shrubs and perennials are sprouting and the air tastes like vodka. In the spring a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love. What’s not to like?