But suddenly there’s a panic on. This is not a winter garden we’re clearing of debris: it’s a spring one. The temperature has hardly dipped below the 6 degrees centigrade that roots need to keep growing. Plants that need winter dormancy are not going to like it. The crunch of bulbs underfoot is sickening: daffodils and bluebells are 10cm above
the ground. Aconites and early crocuses are flowering and lawns and box hedges are bright green with growth: if things go on like this we will have to do three months’ work in one to be ready for spring. they won’t, of course, We could have snow next week, and the probablility of another four months of frosts is not a happy thought.
There are compensations: spring pleasures already, promising shoots all around, wafts of scent from honeysuckles and mahonias, brilliant low-angled sunlight on a green garden. I won’t call this early crop of weeds a bonus, but nor will we have the problem, when we get on the borders, of wondering precisely where we planted the tulips.