In last Sunday's Observer, Monty Don talked about why the easter break is the moment, in Britain at least, we all get a bit enthused about life.
"The light balances between night and day, the moon swings from phase to suitable phase, the evidence of life literally pushing up through the ground is there all around."
Whilst I perhaps don't go in for the whole "I am the resurrection and I am the life" business, I do enjoy the early spring break. The good thing about it, apart from the fact it is a far, far more relaxing time than any of the other state-sanctioned holidays, is that you can sit outside and idly stare at things in the garden. This photo was actually taken a couple of weeks back but look how blue it all is. The time I didn't spend working, or faffing about with the blog, was spent in the garden discovering just what has and hasn't survived the winter.
- my acer: the most expensive plant I've ever bought. It's is now showing terrifically red leaves. (that's not actually mine in the photo, just an example for you non-gardening types)
- my asiatic lillies: all three have charged up through the ground. One is showing signs of being munched upon, I suspect by slugs. Hopefully, they will also produce blooms (very fleshy, very red) again. (still not a photo of my actual plants)
- my lavenders: I have three, so far, and all the signs of an obsessive collection brewing. Of the three, the one which has survived to my great relief is the one my mother gave me last summer. It is a new breed, apparently, and has a delicate aroma compared to the other two. (still not my plants)
- the hedgehog: there is a long saga with the hedgehog. I love the fleabags to pieces because they love to eat slugs (see above nibbled lillies). This little chap - and I am assuming it is the same one and male - has a taste for cat food however. I was tough and, after events such as the "waking up at 1am to find it sitting in the doorway to my bedroom" occassion, cut off the supply by barring the catflap last autumn. This led me to a natural worry that he wouldn't hibernate in time etc etc. Last night, at about 2am, there he was. Snuffling about in the flowerbeds and looking highly alarmed at the new solar lamp.
- a plant in the big bed. No idea what it was. I probably bought it for a quid somewhere so am not overly concerned. I think it had dark red flowers but it might have been the white thing I didn't really like anyway.
To recap: last year there was An Accidental Death of a Frog. I did the burial business, and was suitably contrite. I did however, express my guilt over the frog death to someone who teased me about the whole idea of renevant frogs returning to wreck revenge upon me.
Yesterday, I was having a cup of tea and beginning the annual war on bindweed (when Monty Don mentions how you can marvel at the growth rate of your plants, he neglects to mention that bindweed seems the most enthusiastic of the lot and is capable of growing about a foot a day). I spot two frogs in the pond. Oooh, I mutter, you've survived. The frogs failed to respond. Not that I expected them to but they don't even blink. Or breathe. I spot a third. All three have their heads up and their pallid little limbs resting on weeds. None are blinking. Or breathing. I try the tried and tested 'pebble throw' method where the plop of a pebble nearby causes a froggy reaction. Nothing. I wave an ivy frond at them. Nowt. Hells, I think, three dead frogs. This leads me to think about how horrific pulling out the slimy weed, replete with frog corpses, will be. And a quiver of zombie frog fear runs through me.
I have several more cups of tea. I prepare a bin bag and try not to imagine the stench this is going to entail. I consider leaving them, since they will eventually sink to the bottom and rot. However a) the pond is too small to cope with that and b) zombie frog fear. I'd just keep imagining them in their watery graves, like amphibian Orphelias. I go back to the pond. The frogs have all gone. With relief, I do some weeding instead. I turn about. All three are back, but in different positions. The little buggers are playing tricks on me. They somehow know of my zombie frog fear and are exploiting it in revenge for the Accidental Death of a Frog last year.
Lest it be thought I'm a real country girl, I think I'd better point out that I live within 15 minutes walk of the city centre and on one of the main roads out of town. I just like a garden with wildlife. One day I hope to catch a grass snake and show it to the kid next door.