By any measure you like to use Spring is here at last:
- Meteorological spring (using the average temperature of the months) starts on 1st March
- Astronomical spring (related to the vernal equinox) starts on 20th March
- Daylight-Saving Time (when we “Spring forwards” into BST) starts on 29th March.
Of course, the first signs of Spring were around to tempt and tantalise us in February. Across its brief span of days, we saw the sunlight grow stronger and the daylight lengthen by almost 2 hours. As eager as I was to get into the garden after the dank, dark, dreary days of winter, I gardened cautiously, venturing out in the rare spells between the rain and doing only the essentials of pruning, weeding and mulching. The days may have been longer, but the heat of the sun was still weak and the ground cold and claggy. This has been the wettest February since records began in 1862 and generally the rainfall was more than twice the average for February. Thankfully the snowdrops need no tending, so between their splendid beauty and the witch-hazel’s heady scent, I was content to wait, accepting their sensory spectacle as assurance of delights to come.
So, now that it is officially Spring, it is time to “Get a march on” and “Spring into action” in the garden! This is particularly appreciated as we all implement “social distancing” measures in these challenging times dealing with the Covid 19 pandemic and I consider myself fortunate to have a garden of my own to spend time in.
Much has been written about the benefits of Gardening in relation to both physical and mental well-being and I am an advocate of this belief – especially as I have found the science to be backed up by my own personal experience. There is a strong relationship between these two aspects of our lives and gardening helps keep them both healthy.
An hour or two in the garden ticks my boxes for daily activity and the sunlight promotes the production of Vitamin D and so is good for my bones. For me, caring for the garden is calming and watching the plants grow gives me a strong sense of hope for the future. I am always amazed that the sense of fulfilment I get from my time in the garden is considerably greater than the physical impact on the garden itself. It is also a delight for the senses; the first cutting of the lawn releasing the fragrance of new mown grass, the sound of the woodpeckers busy making new homes for their mates, the distinctive beauty of each spring bloom, the tactile pleasure of planting plump onion sets in ordered, harrowed rows and the delights of eating homegrown rhubarb now that there is enough to pick with abandon. (Have a look at my recipes)
Close to where I live are open fields and patches of woodland. So, as well as my own garden I can experience the wilder side of nature and here, as in my own garden, spring is setting forth. The lambs and woodland flowers are evidence that the world is awake and carrying on with its natural rhythm even as a we strive to re-establish ours.
It reminds me of a favourite poem that starts with:
I wandered lonely as a Cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and Hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden Daffodils;
And concludes with:
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the Daffodils.