Friday, 8 February 2008

And a new beginning

January: always a bit of an anticlimax after Christmas and a miserable month for weather to boot. But when those fresh green leaves of the snowdrops push their way through the crumpled leaves under the trees there is suddenly the hope of something better. When the delicate snow white heads appear, nodding so prettily, you know spring is only weeks away: OK, many weeks away, but let's be positive.

Down the side of the back path are some bright little beacons, winter aconites, golden yellow, their ruff of leaves so shiny, that they would cheer anyone up - which is why I look forward to daffodils in March – and several primroses with frilly leaves are flowering early in the borders.

And I love the hellebores which are all in flower, adding a sophisticated touch to otherwise bleak corners with their dramatic leaves and wonderful colours: lime green and pure white, freckled or streaked. February now: everything else is getting the message. Delicate early iris – Iris ungularis - are fleetingly in flower nestled among their sword like leaves, tiny purple violets peep shyly out from underneath bushes.

An unusually warm and sunny day and suddenly there are several crocus open under the beech tree. Mostly mauve, a few white, but not one yellow one – the birds love their saffron and if a yellow one slips through the net the birds will make sure it doesn't last long.

And the narcissi I planted in the old half barrel have suddenly shot up – several degrees warmer raised as they are – I just hope they're not over too quickly. I love the smell of them as I come out of my back door, they will be followed by later varieties and, if I'm lucky, there will be flowers until Easter.

It's been such a mild winter that the birds are beginning to nest: we've had a pair of greater spotted woodpeckers and a lovely nuthatch making a meal of the nuts. And yesterday a pair of tiny perfectly formed long-tailed tits: they're so pretty with their soft pink feathers, long tail and neat heads. I think they're nesting in the rose above the kitchen window; I do hope so.

February may still have some blasts of wintery weather in store for us but now nothing can stop the inexorable march towards spring: it's begun.

1 comment:

Helen Palmer said...

What lovely flowers, Lucy Ann!

I am currently living in Spain and I do miss the little white flowerheads of the Snowdrops and in particular the Helebores.

Although it is 1st March, you photos have cheered my day! Spring really is just around the corner.

Great writing and lovely photos.