This is usually one of my favourite times of year: the days are noticeably longer, the daffs are at their best, the tulips are just starting and everything is showing signs of new growth and promise for the future. Given the current situation the natural world seems to stand in stark contrast to our everyday lives. There is blossom on the trees, birdsong (which I can now hear clearly because there are no aeroplanes and very few cars) and new, pale green growth on all my plants, which are carrying on regardless of what is happening to us. In a way it is rather comforting. In the garden the kerria is still providing a brilliant buttery yellow glow and the pots of daffs and wallflowers are looking lovely. The last few days have encouraged some of the tulips to open too, a rather rash move which I hope they won’t regret when it gets colder again.
I have cleaned the windows so I can now see out properly but new developments mean that this post will also include things that are just inside my window – seed trays of opium poppies. Unfortunately they are living on the table where I mostly work, which is also where the cat’s favourite basket sits (sunny, over a radiator and with a good view of the street), so everything is a little cramped. Particularly as the seeds have to be moved onto the other table as the sun moves round. But full of hope.
The foxgloves, evening primroses, alliums and grasses are all showing promise of great things in the months ahead – although at the moment the blue fescue looks a little like a badly-shorn skinhead.
I have also gained a greenhouse. Well, a small greenhouse-shaped cloche that I rescued from a skip some years ago but never got round to cleaning. I now see why it was thrown away; apart from being slightly broken, it is about a quarter of an inch too small to accommodate a seed tray. After a certain amount of improvisation it now houses seeds of sunflowers and hollyhocks.
As of this morning, the opium poppies have germinated. I now have hundreds of new residents in the house too look after. Tiny delicate little plants who will need exactly the right amounts of sun, warmth and water if they are to transform into tall elegant flowers – it’s a bit daunting but very exciting as I don’t usually grow many seeds, saying my house has neither the space nor light necessary. I hope I can prove myself wrong.