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.
Daffodils that come beforeShakespeare
The swallow dares,
And take the winds of March
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 –Emily Dickinson
How glad I am –
I hoped for you before….
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.
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.
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.
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!
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 hazeFrom ‘March’ – in John Clare’s ‘Shepherds Calendar’
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
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,‘The First Spring Day’ by Christina Rossetti
Or in this world, or in the world to come:
Sing, voice of Spring,
Till I too blossom and rejoice and sing.’
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‘!