This is our second spring in our new house, in our new outdoor life, and, whilst I excitedly anticipate it for weeks and welcome it with open arms, I feel like someone has pointed a remote control at the nettles, docks and other weeds and pressed fast forward.
I become overwhelmed as I think of what I still have to do from our winter projects, in addition to the maintenance that now needs to begin; lawn mowing, de-weeding around the base of the new trees (and we’ve planted a lot of trees), making sure that everything that is newly planted, particularly the bare-root trees, doesn’t dry out – despite the wetness of the winter it doesn’t take long for our clay soil to start cracking – and that the bluebells don’t become overgrown by nettles, thistles, celandines and long grass.
Then my husband reminds me of what it was like here when we moved in. Yards and yards of thistles and nettles as tall as me. The few we have now are small fry in comparison.
But I believe, just as the daffodils are going over, we are beginning to get on top of things. The hedgerow has been planted, dozens of new trees have gone in, top soil has been ordered and moved – wheelbarrow by wheelbarrow – and turned over turf in the meadow has been dug over, twice, then raked to a fine tilth. And finally, yes finally! The wildflower seeds have been sown.
Sowing the wildflower seeds is a nerve-racking moment. They are just so small you can’t quite believe they are going to grow into a beautiful summer meadow and provide food for bees and butterflies in addition to providing so much pleasure for us during the summer months. It is a huge responsibility for something so tiny. But my job is now done. All I can do now is watch anxiously from the sidelines as nature takes its course. Fussing like a mother hen over any weeds that dare appear (and we have many brave weeds). The patch isn’t looking particularly beautiful now. Bare earth, a plastic bag for a scarecrow and green netting is all you can see. Fingers crossed it transforms itself over the next few months.
Despite the hard work and the seemingly never-ending to-do list, it is a glorious month. The fruit trees I planted last year have varying amounts of white blossom sprinkled through them. Tight little pink buds from the pear trees breaking out joyously into a small white cloud. A promise of the magnificent trees they are to become. Then the leaf buds on the young horse chestnut and poplars (planted last winter) that have been dormant for so long are all bursting out. I cheer each and every one.
Then finally, this morning as I was doing my rounds I spotted something rather marvellous. The first bluebell from the batch I planted last month coming out for a peak in its new world for the very first time.
Now that makes all the hard work worthwhile.
Thanks for reading,