Saturday, 25 February 2012

February 25th - more flowers

This week I have seen (flower-wise)

Have I already mentioned the irises at the corner of the drive? On Monday, they were an encouragement as I reluctantly left to start teaching again after the halfterm break.

On Tuesday, in a sheltered corner of the churchyard wall at Trotton, I came upon a sudden sight of bright, pure-white flowers, interspersed with glossy, dark-green leaves, all close to the ground. It was only a fleeting glimpse as I carried on up the hill towards Rogate. I have no idea what the flowers were; I have an impression of snow-drop shapes, but brighter and larger, almost like lightbulbs, or very white, pearly teeth, scattered in the grass.

A few hours later, coming back the other way, I was looking out for them, but missed them completely, because my attention was caught by the ground inside the churchyard wall. As you come down the hill towards the little church, which is just to the west of the ancient. single-track bridge, the road is actually below the level of the grass in the churchyard. I was completely surprised to see that the ground, at my eye-level, was carpeted with the most delicate pale purply-pink, like confetti, like cherry-blossom. Crocus? Cyclamen? No idea - the lights for the bridge were green, so I had to continue without enough time for a proper look. I wonder if they will still be there next week?

On Thursday, when I went to empty the kitchen compost tray into the wormery, I saw my first dandelion face to face. I would have taken a picture of its bold, mocking grin today, but it has already closed its petals up and hidden away under the shrubs. It is the harbinger of the war to come - me versus the weeds. Last year I lost against the mare's tail and couch grass, but won against the goose grass.

Today, while I was wandering round the garden looking for the elusive dandelion, I found that the fennel I planted last year is making a comeback. To think that I nearly pulled it all out! I set all the tiny seedlings in a sunny patch at the bottom of the garden, and they all grew, tall and invisible against the laurel hedge behind. At the end of Summer, there was no sign of any delicious bulbs of fennel to eat, which is why I was going to give them the heave ho. Luckily I forgot all about them and then it became colder and wetter.Luckily for them, I'm a strictly only-in-fair-weather gardener. Maybe they need a second year to create those big, fat, beautiful, yummy bulbs.  Delia has a recipe in the Christmas recipe book involving fennel and red peppers and olive oil all baked in the oven... I can taste it now...

At the end of the Summer I planted a whole load of Spring flowering bulbs in an area that I cleared of undergrowth - the first time it had been taken back to bare soil for years and years (over the Summer holidays, when the weather is fine and the grass dry enough to sit on, I go for a couple of weeks of full-on gardening, clearing borders back to bare earth at the rate of roughly a square yard every day. I pay myself £8 per hour as an incentive. Sad but true). Anyway, there, in the mud, is a tiny, early anenome, looking very lost. I hope the others come up soon to keep it company.

I'm sure I wrote about the snowdrops a while ago. They usually come up at Christmas time every year, but last Christmas they were a few weeks late. However, they are still going strong. Here they are, just beginning to look a little tired from all the snow and frost.

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