Is this Spring?

cheery cherry blossom

       I asked myself this as I walk around the garden on the last weekend in January. The cherry tree has burst open the first pink pops of blossom and there are more signs of the season changing on the way.

A few daffodils are out, this seems to be fairly universal across London. On my new route through St James’s Park, the immediate horizon of the path changed this week from grey and green green, to a sea of waving yellow heads bobbing in the wind and rain.

Although disappointed by the lack of expected order, even if it is unpredictable, I can never be disappointed to see flowers at this time of year. I expect a hierarchy with snowdrops and crocus being the early stars, followed by blue iris and grape muscari , then the attention grabbing daffodils and narcissus, with the proud tulips closing the Spring season.  This spell seems to have been broken in my garden this year at least, with daffodils in January and blue iris flowering 2 months earlier than last year.  But these days are so short and dark- I always feel thankful to see anything burst into flower – reminding us that winter is fleeting, soon warmer days and clearer skies will return.

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There has been much in the garden out of sync – the anttirrium still haven’t died back. The fuschia have started new growth shoots and clematis are starting to bud. There is a bleeding heart flowering from the central clump of its woody form.

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Bleeding heart persists in the winter gloom

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There is also basil and chives re-sprouting in the pots I left in the mini greenhouse. In there are the sweet william that has managed to self seed into the container we grew beetroot in last September.  Nature finds a way to root through and satiate itself in strange conditions, its reassuring and reminds us about adaptation to new environments – a state we all face.

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To respond to the seasonal shift, I’m ignoring caution and setting off some sweet peas, broad beans and chitting some swift early-crop potatoes. Let’s hope it pays to follow the lead of the early spring…

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