In Saturday’s warm spring sunshine, new leaves and buds were almost visibly unfurling as you watched.
The front garden was full of first flowers that had sprung up seemingly overnight: the first hybrid tulips, the pale cups of Apricot Beauty; our first rich velvety wallflowers, Erysimum cheiri ‘Blood Red’; and a delicate greenish-white bloom on Anemone coronaria ‘Mount Everest’.
The Tulipa sylvestris were basking in the warmth, their golden stars aglow in the lush green grass, echoed in a cluster of celandines and a dandelion nearby.
After a walk around the garden, exclaiming over each new treasure, we got down to the day’s work: predominantly tackling the remaining bed in the kitchen garden to finish our preparations. Birdsong filled the blue skies as we worked in short-sleeves, the incessant wind blissfully absent for the day.
We cleared the bed of the pallets, excess logs for the house and other bits and pieces that had gathered here over the months. For three or four hours then I worked the ground with a fork, breaking up the clay that had compacted into concrete over the long wet winter, painstakingly removing the weeds embedded in the chunks of clay.
King of the Hill worked nearby, servicing the lawn mower, trimming the grass, planting out the chitted potatoes and broad beans raised in the greenhouse, and putting up poles ready for the runner beans which have not yet been planted.
After a hasty late lunch mid-afternoon, King of the Hill joined me on the battleground of the middle bed, and after a couple more hours of hard work side by side, we had finally cleared it of weeds, and could rotavate the ground to further break up the lumps of clay.
With aching backs, and dirt-streaked faces, we finally put away our tools and limped back to the house in search of hot water and food as afternoon turned to evening.
A hard day’s work, but at last the kitchen garden is ready for planting and a weight has eased from our shoulders.
Sunday was a cooler and mostly dull day, with little opportunity for gardening, though I did manage to sow some seeds in the greenhouse late in the day. By yesterday, the sunshine seemed a distant memory in a world once more cold, grey and streaked with drizzle. Come back, Spring!