Finally the days are a little warmer though there could of course still be more snow or freezing temperatures. However, snowdrops are nodding their beautiful heads so full of promise and hellebores of all colours, both speckled and plain are popping up to add joy to sitting on our decking which they are just below. Iris reticulata is another beautiful early visitor. Every year the appearance of spring flowers feels like an absolute miracle of nature after the dark days of winter. Some winter seedheads still remain providing much needed food for birds along with the seed and suet balls we provide. We have been rewarded with a garden full of birds including today a visit from one of our favourites, a greater spotted woodpecker who unfortunately never seems to stay still long enough for us to get a picture of him. I also especially love the long tailed tits and the way they hang out in groups together around a feeder. There were 8 hanging off the feeder outside our bedroom window when I was resting in bed the other day. What a treat! The appearance of spring plants really brings hope and joy to my heart. Time too to start planting seeds for the summer. Hardy annuals for filling gaps in borders, hanging over the edge of containers and cutting for the house. Tomato seeds which produce tomatoes with flavour so much better than bought tomatoes that they are worth all the effort caring for them as they transition from a tiny seed to a tomato so succulent it is like eating sweeties. We have been mulching the beds both to feed the perennials hiding under the soil and to prepare areas that need planting up either because we are redesigning them or because they are planted with annuals; flowers or food. All in all a time to celebrate the joy of gardens and gardening and we definitely need something to bring cheer to our lives at the moment. Sometimes of course gardening goes backwards as in our elder son’s garden where their viszla puppy, Ollie has dug up the bulbs carefully planted in the cold of autumn ready to provide colour as we move into the full flush of spring. Perhaps that will have to wait until next year when he has learned not to dig the garden up. Rising temperatures allows work on hard landscaping to progress as well, our priority being improving accessibility for the visitors we hope to be able to welcome to the garden later in the year. Many people will have fragile mental health as lockdown is lightened and we really hope to provide somewhere that can be a refuge for individuals in need of calm and solace after the last 18 months. Let’s hope disease control by vaccination allows us to do that. Nurturenature is very much a project for the community and a place we want to share with those in need of the healing power of nature for their physical and/or mental health.
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