I wonder if there are people out there whose house and garden always look the same and who thus don't need to tidy up for visitors. What a perfect world that would be: the kitchen floor would always be clean, the flower beds would always be weed free and there would never be piles of electrical gubbins on the kitchen table. I'd love to live like that but in order to achieve it I would have to move house to a small and perfectly formed modern flat, divorce my delightful husband and live meanly by myself, stop having cats and chickens and trying to run two acres of garden, a holiday cottage and numerous outbuildings. I might be able to manage a small and perfectly formed balcony. I think I might be saying that in order to achieve it I would have to live someone else's life.
This week Karen and Kate came to visit and it was really lovely to see them. Did I say I love having visitors? However as a result I spent days before their arrival weeding, and yes Karen and Kate, I know it didn't look like it. You should have seen it before is all I can say. Ian also took the electrical gubbins off the table.
I love spring. I can feel the energy and warmth which drives green leaves up through the bare soil driving me outside. And this is a beautiful spring. The daffodils are crowding around the apple tree and the swing.
When I started planting daffodils up here I was going to be very disciplined: the native Welsh daffodil around the orchard trees (narcissus obvallaris) and Thalia up by the swing. Since then I discovered that there were some daffodils here already around the quince tree and I changed my mind. I have rather surprised myself by falling in love with daffodils and buying more and more. Now I have Jack Snipe by the drive:
and a lot of February Gold by the swing.
I have some sweetly scented jonquils, aptly named Sweetness, and some lovely old doubles, Telamonius, These have been growing in cottage gardens since the early seventeenth century when this house was built.
It seems that daffodils have to be quite small to appeal to me, with a neat flower or swept back petals. For the first time this year there are enough in the soon to be orchard to spread and dance. This year I shall colonise the bottom of the field, perhaps with Cedric Morris if I can find it, or Jenny or Pipit.
But the best bit of the garden just now is the side garden where pulmonaria Blue Ensign and Diana Clare sit with tiny Praestans tulips, Fusilier, side by side in a singing smile of colour.
And the rest of the side garden is beginning to bulk up with the foliage of aquilegia, day lilies, foxgloves and newly emerging geraniums and peonies.
To complete the picture of garden life, here is evidence of the mass break out of hens from our attempt to keep them confined, although confined in a pretty large area of grass and trees. These two weren't having it and made their presence felt on the wall outside the kitchen door.
And there is quite a lot of stuff in the field which is not daffodils but machinery, waiting to go back into the new barn.
It all depends on where you point the camera!