We’ve been enjoying glorious spring down here. Shorts and t-shirts have come out, hair is getting sun bleached, freckles are appearing. The normally quiet country lanes are full of people cycling, walking dogs and generally enjoying the balmy weather.
But no rest for the farmers. While everything is bursting into flower, the seasonal showers have failed to appear. The Easter weekend was spent pumping water out of a pond and pouring it onto the newly planted blackcurrants. The growing strength of the sun has made every grower frown with worry.
And then came the ground frost a few nights ago. While some European vineyards apparently hired helicopters to hover over their vines to disturb the freezing air, we hoped that our proximity of the reservoir would be our saving grace.
That same day our two lambs arrived (both born as triplets and their mothers cannot feed them – so we do). I covered their little run with a tarpaulin on one side to shelter them from rain and wind (in case it actually appeared) and with an old sheet on the other side (to stop them triggering our security light every time they moved – the sudden flash of light makes the little darlings bleat…). Glad I did that because in the morning the sheet was frozen while the lambs weren’t.
All this has been accompanied by carpets of bluebells in the woods and along the footpaths. The flood of purple is in places interrupted by white anemones and native pink and purple orchids. This is truly my favourite time of the year here in England.
Everything simply wants to grow.
PS: I have been saying (despite my numerous gardening disasters) that you would have to be really brutal to kill a plant (ok, ok, I know, I can’t keep a clematis alive either). And today I spotted a rare example that the universe actually agrees with me. While tying down the vines to the wires, I came across a piece of twig that had been cut off a few days ago but despite that the remaining sap kept on flowing – the plant did everything to survive.
(And have you heard about the grapes from Mt Etna? The owners of the farm found a few plants making their way through solidified lava a few years after the volcano erupted and destroyed that part of the vineyard.)