It is spring. The garden says so. There’s flowers, buds are beginning to open, and there’s birdsong. In the pond I see a great cluster of frog spawn. Such a mass of it, around a square foot I estimate, though not of course regular, but amorphous like a cloud. I do a little counting, and reckon there’s over a thousand eggs in the spawn, each with their black dot, about the size of a peppercorn, in jelly.
It will be two or three weeks before they hatch, depending on the temperature, and the pond will be a mass of tadpoles. The vegetation in the pond needs to catch up, the algae and the bigger plants to give the tadpoles food, places to hide and, in the early days after hatching, to hang on to. Then it’s three months before they become frogs, making our pond popular with children, their parents, and those of us fascinated by these developing blobs.
The wildflower bed, or rather what will be the wildflower bed, is a mass of daffodils. Not quite Wordsworthian in extent, he tells us he saw ten thousand, but the yellow trumpets en masse do lift the spirit.
I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
The inspiration for the poem came from a walk in 1802. William was with his sister Dorothy near Ullswater, in the Lake District. So he wasn’t really ‘lonely as a cloud’ but let’s allow for poetic license. Dorothy wrote her journal daily. Here’s part of what she wrote that day:
…we saw a few daffodils close to the water side, we fancied that the lake had floated the seed ashore and that the little colony had so sprung up – But as we went along there were more and yet more and at last under the boughs of the trees, we saw that there was a long belt of them along the shore, about the breadth of a country turnpike road. I never saw daffodils so beautiful they grew among the mossy stones about and about them, some rested their heads upon these stones as on a pillow for weariness and the rest tossed and reeled and danced and seemed as if they verily laughed with the wind that blew upon them over the Lake…
William Wordsworth and his sister lived together at Dove Cottage in Grasmere. It is a small, low ceilinged cottage, the walls stained from candle smoke. Wordsworth often used his sister’s journal as inspiration for his poetry. She never complained, leaving her brother to claim the limelight.
We have a new rockery, by the fence, near the pond. It’s made up of stones, rock, and bits of concrete with compost in between. Sedum spatulifolium has been planted, taken from a raised bed, also primroses and ferns which will fill out as the days elongate and the temperature rises, along with new shoots around the garden, buds bursting, birds nesting and more flowers after the quiescence of winter.