Monday, 28 May 2012

Blooming and growing

We came back from a wonderful holiday at the weekend and were eager to pop into the garden to see what had happened since we were last at home.  Rather arrogantly I expected that the garden would suffer without me there to tend and look after it.  What we discovered was stunning and humbling at the same time.  Our garden had done perfectly well without us for a week, in fact it had bloomed and grown hugely.  Roses, jasmine, alliums and foxgloves had all started flowering, the aquilegas and fennel had shot up in height and the cosmos and ox-eye daisy seedlings in the greenhouse had germinated. 

We spent a lot of time in the garden,  taking in all the changes that had happened, and trying to fight back against the weeds that were vying for attention.   In the hazel tree, we can no longer see the birds on the feeder as the leaves provide dense cover, although we can hear the blue tits, the finches and the blackbirds still, and the robins often appear on the fence waiting for us to start digging.  As if on cue, the swallows swooped overhead and it felt as if summer had arrived.  The changing of seasons carries on with or without us, although I like to think that we do help to make the garden more welcoming and beautiful.

The major vegetable growing season is now upon us and lots of work is needed to sow, tend, water and protect from slugs and snails, so Mr C will be very busy from now on.  Obviously the herbs and flowers do perfectly well without much interference from me, so perhaps I should spend some time just sitting and enjoying the garden!

I'm sure I've shared this poem before, but its one of my favourites and it feels rather apt:

What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows.

No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.

No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night.

No time to turn at Beauty's glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance.

No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began.

A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

William Henry Davies

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

The first swallow (or swift!) of summer?

To me there are always certain markers during the year that indicate the change of the season - the first frost, the first sight of snowdrops, the leaves starting to fall, the apple blossom, the vegetable and hazel harvest.  I usually equate swifts and swallows with the beginning of long summer days and clear blue skies and sunshine.  At the weekend, during a brief respite in the rain, we went for a walk on the South Downs, and walked through a host of darting swallows (or swifts, I always get confused), swooping over our heads and over the nearby field scooping up insects on the wing.  It was wonderful to see them and made me wonder if they were signs of a lovely summer to come.  I wish I could show you some pictures but they were far too quick and anyway, a static picture of a swallow shows nothing of its beauty. In spite of the dull cloudy weather or maybe because of it, the woods were resplendant with green.  I only took a few pictures:-

Wonderful green!

Common dog violet

One swallow does not make a spring, nor does one fine day