Not only have I been remiss about writing my blog, I am ashamed of the little timeI have spent in the garden lately. But the weather has been so up and down - with 2 weekends completely snowed over - that it is hard to know what to do for the best. I do not trust it not to get bitterly cold again and so I am disinclined to do my final spring tidy - just in case.
As a result the garden looks a terrible mess. Yesterday I ventured out to do a bit of sweeping and tidying, loosing an hour in a blink. A large section of my eleagnus has decided to die back - inexplicably - but I was rewarded by the cheery blooms of 2 hellebores I had completely missed from the window. What a shame they hang their pretty heads so low as their markings are so beautiful. Pulmonarias and self-set primroses are also brightening dark corners and self-set crocuses continue to pop up in unexpected places. I don't know if they are spread by seed or squirrels but they are very dainty.
Nearer the house the mahonia has been in flower for weeks and was abuzz with bees yesterday. It smells delicious - pity one seldom has the French doors open in winter.... Several blue tits have been visiting the peanut feeder hanging adjacent. I wonder if they are also responsible for the mahonia petals on the ground - they so seem to love pecking at flowers.
In spite of the warm sun yesterday the promised rain did arrive today and good and heavy it was. Just unfortunate I was out clay shooting in it and got totally drenched. It even snowed for a sort while. At the shooting ground, near Beaconsfield in Bucks, shoots of bluebells have been trying to force their way through for well over a month but don't seem to be getting far. The gravel pit has all but dried up but today's downpour did wake up one creature who seemed pleased to receive it. While we were shooting a large, splendid yellowy-brown toad came waddling towards us. He was so bold we decided we should move him out of harms way in case we accidentally trod on him and he immediately disappeared under a large dead leaf and started digging....
Have just picked a few handfuls of baby rocket and American land cress leaves from the greenhouse - they seem to have been unaffected by the extreme cold even in my unheated greenhouse!