Frights of spring Posted on February 10, 2008

Couldn’t the daffodils contain themselves until the snowdrops have had their go? Not this year. The ghostly calm of white in the woods is shattered by trumpet-blasts of yellow.  I thought someone had dropped a Kodak box, so out of place was the first daff to open . I picked the head off and hid it. Snowdrops must have the brown and grey of February to themselves.  Small chance when hawthorn is already in leaf, bluebells are rich green, even forming buds, and you can see a hint of colour through the furry bud-scales of magnolia.

I imagine there are gardeners up and down the country making lists of premature flowers. With so many anomalies, where do your start? From where I’m sitting,at the kitchen table, with the fat pink buds of Staphylea holocarpa ‘Rosea’ visibly swelling under the workshop gable.  Frost at the end of April is its usual problem.

Surely nothing now can restore it to its routine; the question is how damaging will it be, to the whole plant as well as its flowers, if proper cold weather sets in this month or next and interrupts this frantic activity? These buds look as though they are almost in labour: how long can delivery be postponed?

It is absurd, isn’t it, to let anxiety cloud skies that are serene from the moment the mists clear to dazzling pink and orange dusk?

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