3, 2, 1… Go!

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Rhubarb crown bursting forth.
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Apple tree bud swelling.
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Clockwise from top – Tithonia rotundiflora ‘Torch’, Cerinthe major ‘Purpurascens’, Nasturtium ‘Jewel Cherry Rose’, Cosmos, Calendula officinalis ‘Indian Prince’. (Penny in the centre for scale.) Below – I saved toilet-roll-holders and the cardboard tubes from wrapping paper to cut up and use for planting my sweet peas. They like a long root run and do not like their roots disturbed when transplanting. This way I can plant them out, tube and all, when it’s a bit warmer. I’ve planted two varieties: ‘Anniversary’ and ‘Windsor’.

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It’s that time of year. The time of year when gardeners get all fizzy with excitement and motivation, especially on a day like today when you can actually smell spring in the air. You can feel it in your bones, it’s elemental. There’s a softness in the air, the light, the sounds. Like nature’s heaving a big, happy sigh of relief.

Seeds I ordered arrived in the post this morning: Cosmos, Tithonia, nasturtiums, marigolds, Cerinthe major, sunflower, scabious, Ammi visnaga, Nicotiana alata ‘Lime Green’, cornflowers… Colourful packets each containing miniature wonders of nature. I find seeds fascinating – each one contains a tiny, immature plant, an embryo. Imagine that! These dry, lighter-than-a-feather, tiny husks contain baby plants. They can lie dormant, some for years and years, but give them the correct conditions and they will grow into magnificent plants, providing us with beautiful blooms or food (or both). I still find it astounding that I can push seeds into compost, water them lightly, leave them for a week or two and (fingers crossed) tiny shoots will appear, leaves will unfurl, roots will dangle out of the holes at the bottom of pots, stems will grow thick and strong. I do get quite attached to any seedlings I manage to raise and find myself talking to them as I pot them on or move them outside to harden them off. Tell me that’s normal? Anyway, it’s time to get going, get sowing and prepare for the growing season. Yippee.

In other news… My daughter, my youngest child, will be 12 at the weekend. My spring baby is growing into an amazing young woman. I clearly remember those dazed days after she was born, standing with her nestled into my shoulder looking out into the garden of our old house, noticing the sunlight on the spring flowers, listening to the birds singing and thinking what a wonderful world it is.

Wishing you a weekend full of sunshine in whatever form it takes. There’s going to be a party here; a house full of 11- and 12-year-old girls. I’ll be escaping into the greenhouse if I can.