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.