Sunday, 30 March 2014

March: the lion and the lamb

The end of March.  The clocks have gone forward  Surely, surely it must be spring.

"March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb."  I have always loved that saying but this year and last it has not proved true.  Last year here in North Wales March went out with the cold savagery of a snow tiger.  We had ten foot high snow drifts and many farmers lost sheep and lambs in staggering numbers to the devastating spring snowstorms which come only once in a generation.  This year the lamblike part of March was in the first part of the month with sunshine, warm temperatures and gentle breezes which made the daffodils open in a great yellow rush down the hill under the fruit trees.


I love these little Tenby daffodils, narcissus obvallaris,  and they are naturalising busily now.  They are small in scale with a jaunty, upright stance, perhaps less graceful than the pseudonarcissus which were Wordworth's daffodils but gloriously happy somehow.


These are pseudonarcissus with February Gold behind them.  There are plenty more to come which are not yet in flower: creamy white Thalia, scented Sweetness and the Pheasant's Eye, narcissus poeticus.  I try to have daffodils in flower for about three months, from late February through March and April and into early May.

And now March is ending with a warm breeze and hazy sunshine.


The damson tree is in flower as is the blackthorn in the mixed hedge we planted.


In the side garden the tiny little tulip greigii which I love are popping up all over the place and the pulmonaria is humming with bees.


I am sure there were bees on this when I took the photo!  Oh well.

We have had our older son and daughter in law staying for the weekend.  I was surprised by a lovely card and present for Mother's Day.  We are not great ones for celebrating special days in our family.  Ian and I never buy each other anything for Valentine's Day.  Mothers' Day and Fathers' Day generally pass unnoticed.   I rarely sent a card to my mother and rarely receive them from my children and step children.  We can even forget birthdays without anybody minding which must seem unutterably odd to those who notice and celebrate and mind.  It is just our way.  My mother knew I loved her and I know my children and stepchildren love me but it was unexpectedly lovely to have a card and thoughtful presents from my stepson and one from my daughter.  I was deeply touched and for a moment my throat was thick with tears.  It takes me like this at the moment.  When Ian and I were walking the other day we passed a florist's crammed with flowers for Mothers' Day.  It must have been the scent.  Supermarkets have been full of things for Mothers' Day and that has left me quite unmoved but the cool damp scent of narcissus caught me unawares and the loss of my mother welled up in a second and turned my insides to water.

Tomorrow older daughter and her four year old son are coming to stay for a few days.  There will be more noise and laughter and young energy rushing around the house and meals to be shared with younger daughter and her fiance.  My concern for my father walks with me and haunts my nights but here we are: the sun shines, the daffodils blow, life goes on.  Thank heavens for family and food and springtime, the love you give and the love you receive.

There are tadpoles in the pond.   Joseph will like that.

29 comments:

  1. Yes the spring has sprung. In a neighbour's garden I assisted as Bean, granddaughter 2 and the friends's daughter. Rose. 6 hunted creepy crawlies. They found several ladybirds, and butterflies, a bumblebee and a woodlouse, some small flies and a woodpigeon - the latter not really a creepy crawlie. But then we found some tiny beetles with a green/blue metallic irridescent sheen. I can't remember having seen them before but it is said that God had a great fondness for beetles. Anyway all were playing in the spring sunshine. Rose is now convinced that she will be an entomologist when she grows up. That was our Mother's Day, which is surely a recent invention. In my day few people bought cards and presents.

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    1. What a lot you have seen and noticed. You are right. Presence I think was the key for mothers' day. It was the time you were freed to go home.

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  2. The daffodils are wonderful and the bees are enjoying the pulmonaria here, too - a beautiful spring day can certainly help a little in difficult times. I hope you have a lovely week with your family.

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    1. Thsnks Wendy. Really seeing is good. I miss so much so often. Four year olds certainly help you to see.

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  3. I remember the Fathers Day about three months after his sudden death. Even though we'd never really celebrated it, the day still hit me hard. The weather should stay warm this week, good for tadpole watching!

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    1. It is odd isn't it? The absence seems very strong.

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  4. Wonderful to see your daffodils and all. Hope you have lots of fun with your family.

    In the land of the Bear, everything is still under snow, which has fallen three or four days in a row. This is to be expected in Canada, but not enthusiastically welcomed (at least by some).

    Blessings and Bear hugs!

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    1. I must admit I am glad to be free of snow. Looks utterly beautiful up here but makes life a bit harder!

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  5. I love the earliest daffodils and the delicacy of the pheasant's eye narcissus. I had a family-ful weekend and felt so happy to be together. I hope you have a lovely week ahead. Jane xx

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    1. thanks Jane. Have enjoyed daughter and grandson being around very much. My mother had a lovely laughing phrase of "Love it when you come, love it when you go." I am both missing them and enjoying the silence if you understand what I mean.

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  6. Hello Elizabeth,

    How beautifully you capture the essence of Spring here in this post. The first flush of flowers, together with their scents, the rush of emotion when one feels that there is hope,kindness and love in the world. Perfect!

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    1. It always intrigues me how the seasons come for me anyway freighted with feeling. I love the hope and new life of spring and although I have learned to love autumn more than I did I still find a melancholy in the ending of things.

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  7. What beautiful sentiments to herald the coming of spring in your little slice of heaven on earth. I love daffodils and recall as a little girl giving my mother a bunch on Mothering Sunday. Perhaps that is why they are my favorite spring flower.

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    1. I love daffodils too. In fact I love pretty much everything which is in flower right now. Wood anemones are another favourite and grow wild around here. I have tried to buy some from a specialist nursery and introduce them here but no luck yet!

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  8. Love seeing your blooms... there is hope of spring after all.. should come along soon.

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    1. Definitely spring here now. All sorts of things in flower and the air is warmer too. Lovely!

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  9. Even though there are no bees on the photo I believe they were there;) I have seen few butterflies and bumblebees and I guess there will be more. Next time they will pose for you. And have a good week with the family!

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    1. There are quite a few bumble bees about. I need to be quicker with the camera!

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  10. Surely this is a site well worth seeing.

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  11. Beautiful post as ever. We don't do Mother's day here either, or Valentine's Day etc and M and I don't buy each other presents, you are not alone. I prefer spontaneous gestures like your flowers were and quite understand your reaction.

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    1. Thought we couldn't be the only ones!

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  12. I love the ten by daffs too, and am building a clumpette. Am delighted to hear you are like us re birthdays! Very liberating, though I am very partial to birthday phone calls. I am new to pulmonarias, having inherited some, but I am really enjoying them - as are the bees!

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    1. And another non celebrating person! And yes to pulmonaria. I love Blue Ensign.

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  13. Gorgeous daffs! Our March came in and out like a lion. We still have several inches of snow in April. I'm enjoying your spring vicariously. How nice to have family around to enjoy the spring bounty.

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    1. I am so glad not to have snow. Last year we had enough for several years!

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  14. What a lovely lovely blog - courgette soup, knitting, the next bit after an unconcerned march through the world and now time to watch for badgers and remark on the shape of trees. I will be back.

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    1. thank you! I am glad you like it and hope to see you back.

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  15. I like that second picture best Elizabeth - absolutely gorgeous. Spring is here!

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    1. I find that although my son in south devon is ahead with the seasons my sister's garden on the edge of Dartmoor is very like mine up here in North Wales so I expect you are the same!

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