It’s a February morning and I’m gardening. Weeding out the grasses that have become the dominant feature of my cottage garden over the mild winter. I’m delighted and shocked in equal measure; fully aware that it’s climate change that is allowing me to be exploring the garden when I should be snuggled by the fire and yet thrilled to be gardening so early in the year, getting dirt under my fingernails and feeling connected with the earth.
I’m in awe of nature and more aware than ever now that we’re living in the countryside, that she’s highly adaptable. As we’ve created the chaos that is climate change, plants adapt and bloom earlier, the first Daffodils and Crocus made an appearance last weekend and the display is already rather beautiful. Birds here too are adapting, making nests earlier that I’ve seen before and the bird-table is a constant buzz of tits, robins and the occasional woodpecker and chaffinch.
Everywhere at North Lodge, the signs that winter has finished and Spring has sprung are popping up. This morning was the first day I have taken my warm coat off outside and had to stop for a cold drink, rather than a hot one. It’s a strange feeling in February, and I can only hope that I don’t get too carried away planting early, only to have late frosts destroy all my work.
We’re very lucky to have had two greenhouses left here when we bought North Lodge, and this year John has put them both up (much colourful language and improvisation required as they were left simply as two piles of glass and fixings) so anything I decide to sow early, will be going into these. I’ve been exploring how people start their seeds, and loved the idea of saving plastic milk bottles (the four pint type is ideal) and then these become mini propagators. I’ll share the progress as I start to plant in them.
The early sunrises mean we get the dawn chorus we love in time for us to be woken each day, not by an alarm, but by bird song. In the last couple of weeks, there has been owl activity in the early part of the day as there is a pair here who are feeding their young – very exciting!
With my heart condition, gardening is the main form of exercise I get, and I’m keeping my activity to 15 minute bursts in the garden. This allows me to sit and enjoy the views on a regular basis.
Keep you posted on our spring plans