an image of Spiereae in the garden

Spiereae – Sunday 17th March, 2024

It’s raining as I open up the garden. This morning doesn’t feel like spring at all, as if spring is all frolicking lambs and pussy willows. But rain too is spring. Without the showers, no spring flowers. A shivery breeze too. One of those days.

After 40 minutes, the rain stops and I wander the garden. The spiraea by the mid gate is magnificent. Its bowed stems full of white florets. So much flowering. It is the sight of the morning. Nearby a three cornered leek, with its odd prismatic stems, and the flowers like white ‘blue bells’. My brother shovels them away. They take over, he cries. Let them, I say. Gardens are like that. Plenty to argue over.

There’s white plum blossom by the raised vegetable beds, and in the sink nearby a perennial wallflower stretches into the gathering light. We are within a few days of the Equinox, when we have 12 hour of light and 12 of night, and then, in the following days, the light wins out, all the way to the Summer Solstice. The Spring Equinox is on 20 March, the first day of Astronomical Spring, three weeks after Meteorological Spring, both just labels, ticks on a calendar. Spring is colour and light, quickening buds and birdsong.

There’s a plethora of male catkins on the silver birch, dangling like an earring display, awaiting the arrival of the female catkin, to give them meaning, in that other side of spring, fertility. There it is too, in the frogspawn, a little more today, and still adult frogs around. There’s a mating pair, with hopeful males around, and I see a female with a very rounded belly. So more spawn to come. The first came on 4 March, two weeks ago, so we’ll get stages of tadpole birth.

The willow by the greenhouse has tiny leaves and pussy willow catkins too. In the nearby wildflower bed, a pear tree sapling is in flower. In the low ground plants here are speedwell, with its small blue flowers. They’ll soon to be dug out as we sow wildflower seed, to give us our summer display.

The Viburnam tinus flowers on, so long we almost forget it is there. Nearby, there’s early blossom on the white cherry tree. And in that triangle, one side of the book shed, is a flowering forsythia, with its yellow blossoms on leafless stems. Down below, there’s a pot of blue grape hyacinths, neither grapes or hyacinths, but folk naming is a fuzzy endeavour. Though, by the mid door there is a purple hyacinth, and some white by the spiraea.

At the back of the book shed, there’s two yellow tulips, yellow blooms of Kerria japonica by the Dare to Dream Stage. Raindrops glint like jewels on the green flowering euphorbia.

Our shelter, by the container, is coming on. It is roofed with transparent polycarbonate sheets. A good place to be out of the rain and listen to the birdsong. The shelter awaits walls. They are likely to be blinds of some sort.

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