White blossom

I am glad Storm Gareth has finally tired of blowing over our isles. Unlike in February, the temperature has resumed normal lows and I need a jumper and two fleece jackets when I go round my garden (using my husband’s fleece last as it is big enough to wrap around all the layers). I have been pottering a bit, buying cheap plants from Wilko (see my gardening diary page), but haven’t got to sow anything yet, except for old love-in-the-mist seeds found in an envelope which I shook over the borders totally randomly.

It is now dry enough to walk through the field to go to school. This morning, the blackthorns turning into clouds gave me a longing for a majestic one we encountered in the Parc de Sceaux.

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I was moved to hear my son reminding me of the hazel bushes growing around the play area there. His attention to living things feels somehow more rooted than mine, natural, native maybe – I want to say “older”. He walks ahead of me on the path to knowing and loving nature.

The other day, as I approached one the blackthorns, looking for that feeling of elation a surrounding of white flowers give, I found a set of keys hanging from a branch. It felt as an invitation.

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Today, the sun is out, the keys are gone (unlike Brexit, it’s “blue, black and white”, dixit the son). Blooms are dripping with honey scent.

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I realise that plants are arranged along our path to school so that, from February to the summer, we may enjoy white blooms almost continuously. Blackthorn are indeed followed by hawthorns, which then pass the baton to elder trees. By then, the whole field is covered in white daisies, and light seems to permeate the flesh and run into the blood. Overlooking the other side of the field, the cathedral tower shines with the dawn colours of limestone. So even though I can’t stop myself longing for the South (yes, this is Kent, but my South is the Mediterranean), wishing I lived in an old dry-stone house with an almond tree standing at the heart of the garden, I realise I am very lucky to live here. Plus, I would miss many of the plants England allows me to grow or admire in other gardens. Nevermind almond trees, blackthorn is enough for my heart.

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Other signs of Spring : this year, acer palmatum Katsura beat everybody and was the first to leaf out.

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Next was Sambucus nigra Black Lace, followed by acer palmatum Redwine. I can’t wait for the persimmon to open its buds.

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There isn’t enough in my garden to allow me to participate in gardening blogs’ threads about March plants / blooms, but what I have, I cherish.

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O Spring where art thou ?

Now is the season when blackthorns turn into clouds. Upon meeting their blooming branches, I am never quite sure if it is them, or I, who take off for the sky.
This old one, the top of which crowns the end of the path, between oak trunks, sings of Spring.

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Yet everything in my garden seems late this year, except for trees : on the maples, the dogwood and the copper beech, the buds are fattening appropriately. What is left of the forsythia tries to cheer up a very soggy garden. Even though I had a few dwarf crocus and irises (from my bulb lasagna), I am yet to witness the flowering of my first daffodil. I am all the more grateful for the brave little Hepatica transsilvanica and her neighbours, a little primula and a pink pulmonaria.

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Other friends are barely poking up, amongs which a Pasque flower which was not far from being true to its name (on time for Easter), eryngium Neptune’s Gold, an astrantia, two geraniums. They don’t make for impressive pictures, to say the least, but bring so much joy I had to give them a place here. Be grateful I am sparing you from the bits of lupins, bleeding hearts, etc.

I equipped myself with a poor woman’s greenhouse.

So far, it is housing two floppy tomato plants, a dying cutting of choisiya which survived the whole winter only to give up now, potential seedlings (orlaya grandiflora, which I first thought were borage, a reluctant set of unknown seeds which might be rose campion) and other mysterious seedlings which might be borage (???). Ahem. And some charming little cutting definitely leafing out, which I hope is from a bushy pink salvia adorning the other side of our street. And that makes me think I neeeeed Salvia Armistad in my life (I think Salvia guaranitica Black’n Blue has survived the cold !).

And here, proof that I was right to buy the dead-looking Clematis Jackmanii Superba from the reduced shelf at the garden centre last autumn !

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The best thing is that the little nest given by Grandma to my son has been carpeted by a robin.

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Alas, the other day, I inadvertently came nose-to-beak with him / her while he / she was inside. He / she flew away in great fright and the nest might stay empty…

To follow my menial but joyful gardening activities, read my Gardening Diary page.