Springtime is always an exciting time for those who love their gardens. Mahonia fruit ripens for our Mrs Blackbird, damson flowers become our cherry blossom, pear and apple buds grow, and the mistletoe bunches on our potted apple tree start to show new life. Will they flower and fruit this year at last? We hope that they will.
Snowdrops are over, but from the centre of two pots of special tulips have sprung elaborate daffodils. I cannot recall having planted them.
Lilies shoot up from the soil in their pots, the Pieris fans out red leaves leaving tired winter ones still on its branches.
The small lemon tree that held on to its few green fruit in the shed over the winter, displays its lemons now as brilliant yellow in the sunshine. These are as bright as any flower.
A Typhoon rose cutting that I have nurtured for a friend turns out to be a Reverend F. Page-Roberts instead. How could I have made such a mistake? At least two Typhoon cuttings put in last autumn seem to be alive. So the recipient will have to wait until this coming winter to get her rose. But I am not really upset about it. The Rev. P-R in its day was the rose. Now it has almost disappeared from view as roses have become stronger and more floriferous.
Impatiens (Busy Lizzies), because of disease, have, I am told, been replaced by New Guinea. So Plants have been bought, but do not look like those they have replaced. Perhaps I am too impatient.
Autumn planted broad beans (Aquadulce) are already in flower. Runner bean seeds have been pushed down into plastic sacks of well-composted soil.
Other than herbs, they are our only vegetables – except for two bucketsworth of Foremost and Charlotte potatoes. Harvesting these is great fun when we turn the buckets upside-down on the garden table and treasure-hunt through earth for the tubers.
Seaweed with trace elements is the new fertiliser, with tomato fertiliser to be applied on alternate weeks. Vines come into bud.
We bought our hardwood bench because of its alluring curves. But it was just a bench. Now, annually, I sandpaper the slats to reveal the timber’s pale ochre colour, and linseed oil their supporting frame to darken it like mahogany. Although made of the same wood, this treatment makes it a rather special object. It is jobs like this that herald the summer, but the bench does now look a bit too smart for our simple garden.