Finally ! A sunny day ! The February big freeze was for me, who am lucky enough to live in a heated house, a welcome thing.
I had not seen proper snow for what felt like an eternity, and my daughter had the joy of her first snowman. Being British, the schools closed for two days, to my children’s delight. I went up university where I am now teaching ancient Greek with the unmistakable snow-aroused feeling of being the first human to tread into an unknown world. On the way up the hill, the big oak was wearing magnificent ermine. I felt awake and alive as I haven’t felt for some time, and somehow called upon.
Before the February big freeze, I went out optimistically to plant things bought in Wilko or M&S and therefore not precisely identified : a bleeding heart (cœur de Marie) of the ordinary kind, some physalis (lanternes), two echinops ritro (oursins bleus), one eryngium alpinum (chardon bleu des Alpes), and a geranium pratense Splish Splash. Of course, being too lazy to put labels down, I now can’t remember where I planted most of them, which means some will be weeded with oblivious enthusiasm. They might find solace in the sound of my jolly weeding tunes. Of course, they might also have been killed by the frost.
In the half conscious fever of Spring, I also cut a circle in the “lawn” to plant an unnamed “red paeony” from M&S (bareroot, or whatever it is called). To be honest, I don’t know what to call the green-and-brown thing on which we tread between the flowerbeds. I can still discern signs that in a distant past predating our presence in this house, it must have been a lawn. Now, I couldn’t even call it “grass”. It is mainly moss and various weeds (most of which I welcome in this kind of asylum blanket) sucked down into greedy squidgy clay. We keep talking about putting down stepping stones, and in my dreams I picture a red brick path, like Monty Don’s. However, there are a few clues indicating this won’t happen any time soon. My husband’s and my own DIY inclination and skills are famously inexistent. And as for our organisation… Suffice to say that the water butt bought last Autumn is still lying down near the bike box, while the new retractable hose happily rests under the dining table, keeping company to boxes of books. Anyway, regarding the “red paeony” : a few days later, I started to worry I must have planted it too deep, so up it came, only to show me that it had already sent down nice little white roots !
Outdoors, I have sown white nigella damascena (nigelle de Damas), aquilegia chrysantha Yellow Queen (ancolie) and lychnis coronaria (coquelourde des jardins). I also put some borage seeds (bourrache) in cracks here and there, hoping it will prevail over the dandelions. Indoors, I have gone for orleya grandiflora and more borage. I still have an envelope full of yarrow (achillée millefeuille) and wild carrots seeds. See the theme ? Of course, I have no idea where all this will go. I am only guided by a desire for something lacy, airy and white, which would also make me the favour of self-seeding in the future.
You are quite lucky my mobile phone tendered its resignation this morning. Otherwise, I would have inflicted on you my whole picture-roll of green and reddish bunny-ear-shaped things poking up from the remnant of mulch. This is for me the most exciting time of year, when stuff I had completely forgotten suddenly appears and shouts its salutation to the new season. It is quite alright to be alive.