Sunday, 30 March 2008


My new colour scheme reminds me of these lovely hellebores seen recently at the Oxford Botanic Gardens – that slightly washed out red is so subtle and alluring. It's perhaps not so readily associated with spring, but for me is as characteristic of this time of year as the deep yellows of daffodils.

A quick trip to check out potential conference venues had offered enough time between visits for a leisurely, if chilly, walk in the gardens and glasshouses, recalling a visit many years ago when my infant son decided that the water hyacinth was insufficiently labelled, the sign being beside the barrel within which the plant dangled its roots into rather deep water. We removed him before the gardeners realised that the label was now at the foot of the barrel. We must also have seen these lovely mulberries – black and white – but on this occasion early spring showed them in all their sculptured glory. I also had time for a quick coffee with Simon from Stuck In A Book, which was delightful.

At home there are leaves appearing on the trees (apart from the old ashes which dominate our garden). There are delicate buds on the amelanchier, indicating that it will soon disappear under a flock of happy blackbirds, who strip them off with great glee. Later in the year they repeat the process with anything that escaped their springtime attentions – last summer was the first time I had ever found a ripe berry on the poor thing. No Saskatoon berry pie in this house!

Yesterday, to celebrate my son's birthday, I sowed tomatoes, aubergines, peppers and courgettes. Three varieties of potato are chitted and ready to plant, though goodness knows when I'll get it done. I hate to go away at this time of year – by the time I'm free of work demands everything has already run riot and I spend the entire summer trying to catch up.


Becca said...

I adore twisted, gnarled old trees - especially those bent over enough to be sat upon. How nice to have coffee with Simon and then to come home to garden. I've enjoyed catching up on some of your earlier posts. Hope your Spring comes quickly.

Table Talk said...

I love the hellebores. We have a nursery within my travelling sphere that specialises in them and at this time of year they are superb. Thanks for reminding me. I must go down there sometime this week and see what they've got that's new.

Nan - said...

I love the word, 'chitted.' What does it mean? Aubergines are eggplant, right? And courgettes, are they a summer or winter squash? In about two months, we will plant the zucchini seeds. :<)

Rob Clack said...

I love those gardens, though it's years since I visited them.

I'm going to have to get out and plant some seeds in the evenings after work if we're to keep up. Last weekend was the first decent weather for ages, and of course, we were singing in Bury St Edmunds cathedral. And this weekend in St Albans Abbey, so no gardening then either!

GeraniumCat said...

Becca, the forecast for the weekend is snow! But I shall be too busy to garden anyway.

TT, I hope you get a chance to visit the nursery. I always spend too much, my plant buying addiction is nearly as bad as the book-buying one.

Nan, chitted means set to sprout, and yes, aubergines are eggplants and courgettes, zucchini. I'm looking forward to them already.

Rob, how lovely to be singing in those beautiful buildings, even if it does mean no gardening.