Holding on for spring

Bunch of daffodils

Finally, there’s a warmth on the breeze. The world is waking earlier and earlier, and all over the garden the daffodils are singing, shoots are shooting, bulbs are popping their greeny growth above the soil and the forget me nots are sprouting up in every corner and crevice, ready to bloom.

And I’m not ready! E is now six and a half months old, and whilst we’re getting into a routine of sorts, I’m still finding it so hard to eke out a spare moment here and there. My seed packets were purchased in earnest in the darker months of winter, but there’s been no sowing, no planting, no potting on at all. My social media feeds are full of pictures of greenhouses bursting to the brim with seed module trays, sprouting onion sets and the lanky but lush growth of sweet peas.

But my garlic is still in packets, the potatoes are solemnly chitting on the windowsill and I have an abundance of spring flowers just waiting to be potted up to brighten the steps outside the kitchen door.

Hell, I even have trees and raspberry canes waiting to go in the ground. That is not good! Argh!

I really need to get a grip. Just an hour here and there should do it, but I’ve been so busy, and so full of cold. So I’m asking – as much as I want spring to arrive, could she please, please just hang on for a week or two whilst I (pardon my French) get my shit together.

I’ll do better, I promise…

Polyanthus, daffodils ready for potting on

In the meantime, look at these pretty little polyanthus primroses! These, along with the dwarf daffs and irises, will adorn the steps by kitchen door to create a little bit of spring cheer.

dwarf iris

I tend to opt for a more muted colour palette when it comes to polyanthus, steering away from the vivid purples, reds and bright yellows in favour of warm and soothing hues. And once the plants and bulbs have finished, I pop them out under the deciduous fruit trees, to help create a bigger and better spring display each year.


Dwarf daffodils in spring

Tete a tete daffodils emerging under the fruit trees each spring

The tete-a-tete daffodils now spring up in a carpet under the damson, followed by some later-flowering and paler-coloured varieties, as well as primroses, polyanthus, cowslips and oxlip. A couple of years ago I added some english bluebells, but have yet to see them flower. Here’s hoping.

Primroses and daffodils

Spring pots from previous seasons; warmer, serene colour schemes more in tune with nature

And here’s hoping to a spare hour and and there in the next fortnight.

Spring has sprung

primroses in springJust as I settled down to write this blog post, we had a sudden mini snowstorm. It was gone just as fast as it arrived and now the sun is breaking through the clouds and the birds are singing again. It’s definitely a March day in the UK.

Winter might be clinging on – the frosty chill in the mornings, the icy bite in the wind – but spring has definitely sprung here in Bedfordshire. For me, spring isn’t just another season, it’s a force of nature. The dull and dreary greys, browns and sleepy greens of late winter begin are giving way to small bright accents of colour – the purple of crocus, the delicate white of snowdrops, the warm pinks and blushes of cyclamen. Soon, the bold yellow trumpets of narcissi will litter the landscape. In spring you can almost feel that the Earth has shifted on its tilt, as the season brings with it all the promise and hope of the abundant, colourful, scent-filled seasons to come. It’s almost as if I’ve been in a deep sleep over winter and life is being breathed into me again.

Primroses and daffodils

The last few weeks have been a slog, but now that the evenings are getting lighter and brighter and the warmth of the sun is getting stronger, I’m beginning to wake up again and feel rejuvenated. I’ve felt so deprived of colour that at the first opportunity over the weekend, I went to my local plant nursery and got some primroses (cultivated and primula vulgaris, the common/wild “true” primrose) and daffodils for my back doorstep pots. They don’t exactly break the bank but they add an instant hit of spring colour and scent.

The winter pansies I’d put in last year had well and truly finished, so it was time to bring some spring cheer. The Smallest Smallholding is still looking rather drab and dreary (I’m chomping at the bit for some bulbs to come into flower), so at least when I look out of our stable door in the kitchen, there’s some bright colour and vitality.

Primroses and daffodils

I don’t usually go for cultivated varieties or bedding, but some of the primroses looked so pretty that I couldn’t resist. I also opted for some delicate but bold tete-a-tete daffodils and some paler counterparts, and once they and the primroses have finished they’ll go into the ground under the fruit trees for next year. The scent is amazing.

spring flowers

It’s a slow time of year in the veg plots, although later this month we’ll be kickstarting the growing season with lots of sowing. In the veg plots, the garlic – now safe from the naughty beaks of our crows – is growing well and the mulching that I did in preparation for a year of no dig is looking great.