.... is spring. Last week, on a day of beautiful, warm sunshine, I took a photograph of honeybees collecting pollen from the crocuses (above), but, since then, spring has been smothered by another spell of winter (with snow). Like many other gardeners, I'm becoming frustrated with the cold weather, because I can't get on with everything in the garden I want to do. I know that when spring, proper, does arrive, I'll suddenly have a whole list of things to get on with.
So, in the meantime, I'm preparing the smallholding for gardening. The first job is to finish the cold frame we've started. It's almost ready, but needs a cover, either glass or plastic. I'd prefer glass, but this will be more expensive than plastic (unless we can get hold of some cheaply). We'll have to make up our minds soon because I'll want to harden off seedlings in there.
We're also preparing for spring visitors; all the nest boxes we've made over the years are in place including the owl box that we hope will attract the barn owl we've recently seen hunting in the next field. And we've started to leave the door of the hay barn open as we try to tempt the swallows to nest there this spring...
We're not short of mud on the smallholding this year; so they'll have plenty of nest material!
As well as the crocuses, I have hellebores in flower, one clump of primroses (my other primroses are still just small, green leaves), some miniature daffodils and some fading snowdrops.
The large daffs and other spring flowers have yet to show themselves. So I've been looking for some signs of spring in the wider countryside. I've walked through the woods looking for wood anemones, but there is no sign of them yet. I love these little star-like flowers, which carpet the woodland floor in early spring, before giving way to the bluebells. I'm sure I saw wood anemones and bluebells by the end of March last year, although the weather had been drier and warmer, of course.
But I did discover this small bloom of blackthorn...
|Cador preparing to see off George, the other gander|
So not too many sights of spring here just yet; but I do have a taste of it, I suppose, because last year's hawthorn blossom wine is now ready to drink.
|Hawthorn Blossom Wine|
This lovely hedgerow drink, gathered last May, will have to keep me going, then, until spring really arrives.