March – in the Spring Garden

March – in the Spring Garden

In the March Garden the first few bars of the opening movement of Spring warm our winter-locked-up lives with promise. Earth is waking from winter rest – the thawing of frozen hopes bringing a foretaste of better things. Dreams have kept us going when times have been rough, now they are turning into reality.

March

Daffodils that come before  
The swallow dares, 
And take the winds of March 
With beauty.

Shakespeare

Until this week the year has been locked down by the cold, yet even then this clump of Spring Dawn daffodils have have been thriving giving us joy since early January. The Anglo-Saxons called March the month of storms. This time it has come in like a lamb and not a lion.

We are glad to say with Emily Dickinson:

Dear March – Come in –
How glad I am –
I hoped for you before
….

Emily Dickinson

Another early herald of Spring, the lengthening hazel catkins are putting on a good display this year. The very early ‘Early Sensation‘ daffodils are finished, so too are the winter flowering irises, winter clematis, Wintersweet and aconites. The last snowdrops are fading. One show finishes, another begins.

Crocus naturalised in lawn
Naturalised Crocus tommasinianus

The Spring Meadow

This small mini meadow corner of spring bulbs outside my study window always gives pleasure, especially these crocuses. The snowdrops and aconites here have finished, but soon to come are mid season daffodils, primroses, wild tulips species, camassias and lesser celandines. I watch with anticipation to see what’s coming next.

Low evening shaft of sun catching yellow cornus shrub

Here the evening sunlight catches the early Cornus mas turning it into a burning bush. This fleeting mood brings a pulse of warming pleasure  – indication that the days are finally lengthening. Spring is all about noticing little things and listening to the sounds of increasing bird song. Sadly, my favourite, the early Song Thrush, though singing a few weeks ago, has gone silent since the cold weather. But I am comforted to hear the blackbird beginning to try out his song.

Spring garden

Even the Euphorbia heads are beginning to lift and get ready to celebrate by sending up their lime green towers of flower, while nearby the late flowering clematis is already impatient to start into growth. Like us, the garden is raring to get going!

A hedgerow full of Blackthorn blossom.

Out in the countryside a haze of blossom on this hedgerow of blackthorn froths like a covering of frost or snow: It looks like a good year for sloe gin!

A tale of spring around the distant haze
Seems muttering pleasures wi the lengthning days
Morn wakens mottld oft wi may day stains
And shower drops hang the grassy sprouting plains.

And on the naked thorns of brassy hue
Drip glistning like a summer dream of dew

From ‘March’ – in John Clare’s ‘Shepherds Calendar’

At this time of year Clare’s countryside was filled with people busy with their country tasks. Hedgers and ditchers, milkmaids, ploughmen and boys, shepherds and woodsmen. Today the fields and woods are largely empty.

Spring Garden Joy

So Spring must dawn again with warmth and bloom,
Or in this world, or in the world to come:
Sing, voice of Spring,

Till I too blossom and rejoice and sing.’

‘The First Spring Day’       by Christina Rossetti

At last I’m sitting outside in this most welcome early moment of spring sunshine, with the scent of the first wallflowers and the sound of a bumble bee visiting the flowers. It’s time to start tidying up the borders after winter. The secateurs are ready and waiting! After a winter of lockdown our spirits rise like crocuses opening up to the sun, as our locked-up lives are released for a moment of fresh air. We feel like those new-born lambs and calves frolicking and leaping for joy as they are let out of their winter quarters into the spring fields of fresh grass.

As we begin to hear heaven’s gift of ‘the singing voice of Spring‘ join with me as I, too, seek to ‘blossom and rejoice and sing‘!

5 thoughts on “March – in the Spring Garden

  1. My goodness, your garden is truly springing into action! How lovely it looks and your description of the wallflowers and bees made me sigh with pleasure! We still have snowdrops here and miniature iris – at least those iris that the deer and rabbits haven’t eaten yet! All my bergenia have been eaten this year as well. We had a much milder (7 degrees C) but wet day today so the tree pruning I was to have done has been left until later.

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    1. I’m sorry to hear again of your deer and rabbit problem. I don’t envy you. Hopefully better weather will enable you to finish your tree pruning. We’re busy with the March tidy-up. After the garden’s post-winter ‘haircut’ things are looking much better!

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      1. Thank you, Richard. I was annoyed about the bergenia because I thought I had protected it with chicken wire but when I checked the wire I saw that it had been moved when the hedge was cut and not put back properly. I love to tidy the garden in March – it’s so satisfying clearing away all the shaggy growth and old seedheads etc. I feel I (and the garden) can breath properly again.

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  2. The spring spirit is definitely in the air now. Our days are longer, lighter and warmer and I’m noticing the daisies on the grass and the calls of the birds. No bees here yet, but I’m sure it won’t be long.

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    1. We have a few bumble bees, especially on the wallflowers. A Red Admiral turned up a few days ago, but sadly, no more from the February song thrush. I do miss these lovely songsters here, though we do meet up with them on our June woodland holiday in the New Forest.

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