Tuesday, 21 April 2009

I sing of brooks, of blossoms, birds, and bowers...

If Spring came but once in a century, instead of once a year,
or burst forth with the sound of an earthquake,
and not in silence, what wonder and expectation there would
be in all hearts to behold the miraculous change!
So says Longfellow. My own heart, however, never fails to lift a little at this time of year, and I am constantly aware of a sense of purpose all around me, the air of full of twitterings and the rushing of wings. It's another bright sunny day, albeit with a chill wind, and I would much rather be out in the garden than working. My plan is spend some time outside this afternoon, if only I can get ahead with everything I need to do - faint hope, I suspect. It will be necessary to do some watering, though - we've had no real rain for some time, and things are getting very dry. That's the downside of growing plants in containers, I suppose.

In the woodland around the farm the gorse is out, and warm evenings are filled with an unexpected aroma of coconut. Around here it isn't too invasive, and can be enjoyed for its rich colour and long-flowering period - I don't think there is any month in the year when there isn't a whinbush flowering somewhere about the place - but I've noticed that on Dartmoor in recent years it is becoming all-pervasive, no doubt because the numbers of grazing sheep have been been reduced since foot-and-mouth.

The woods are full, too, of the delicate blossoms of gean, or bird cherry. Alongside the blowsy cultivated cherries, this native tree has a tendency to pale into insignificance, but it can be un unexpected joy in northern woodlands and, later in the year, the birds enjoy the small fruit. It's one of the native species I want to plant in our paddock.


Nan said...

I have a folder of desktop photos I've gotten off the internet over the years, and one of my favorite sites is (no surprise!) the Beautiful Britain webpage. I have a photo from them that looks very like your bird cherry, and they called it Blackthorn. Is that the same thing? Sad about the decline of sheep. It's been a long time now - I'd think they would have been reintroduced.

GeraniumCat said...

We have several plants with rather similar flowers: the bushy blackthorn is prunus spinosa, or sloe - I would rush out a take a picture of it for you, but I took out all that was growing in our garden because it has wicked spines. I will probably plant some in the paddock though, because I love it in spring - it flowers on bare stems, hence the name blackthorn. Its fruit is the "other" ingredient in sloe gin. Bird cherry is prunus padus and is a proper tree, they can get quite big. And then there's hawthorn (or quickthorn, or may), with white or pinkish blossom, which comes out very shortly after the other two. When the may is out the fields look quite bridal.

elizabethm said...

Lovely photos and I do so share your lifting of the heart at spring. time to be outside again.

Nan said...

Thank you for the info! I just read Blackthorn Winter, and she talks about the sloe, and sort of marinating it in gin and sugar to put in a gin drink in the winter! Have you ever tried it? Elizabeth sent me a picture of blackthorn in blossom! I used it in my book report on BW.