Now, I'm not going to say this out loud, but this past week has been really quite Spring-like in the garden. It won't last, I suspect, but it's been a really welcome contrast to last week's wintery blasts!
The birds have certainly noticed the difference. I don't know about you but I'm sure this is the first week the birds have started singing in earnest in the morning as well as in the gradually-extending evenings. Bird song really lifts the soul at this time of the year.
But the bulbs have been pushing through too. The common snowdrops have started to appear in sheltered sunny areas revealing their snow-white blooms and we seem to have more golden Winter aconites (Eranthis) than ever, even pushing through the compost layer we put down before Christmas. The early daffs are really on the move too. They usually start to bloom in early March, so not long to go.
But the trees and shrubs, not dormant for very long, are also on the move, particularly the currants (with their ever- present aroma of Ribena (other blackcurrant drinks are available!), including the Flowering Currant (Ribes sanguineum) with its burgeoning shiny red buds, not unlike those of the big Lime trees (Tilia) in the Woodland with their accompanying red stems.
We have now removed about 70% of last year's growth in the herbaceous borders but still remaining are last year's Teasel heads, like little arboreal hedgehogs), the tiered russet globes of Phlomis and some of the coneflowers' seed heads. We'll keep them in the borders for another month before the early bloomers appear, talking of which the fat buds of the Drumstock Primula (P. Denticulata) are starting to develop.
It might be mid-Winter but Mother Nature is definitely awake!