The court of King Arthur, the Loch Ness monster, the ‘Good Old Days’ and the British spring of 2018 – all frequently talked about, but never actually seen. Despite the occasional, unsubstantiated rumour of a sighting from persons of dubious integrity, there is no hard evidence that any of them exist. Or have ever existed. They are simply part of British folklore.
It’s remarkable what a few days of warmer temperatures and a blue sky can do to the English landscape. Previously barren branches and sullen bushes burst into a kaleidoscope of brilliant greens. Empty flower beds cast off their soiled brown uniforms, sprouting every other colour of the rainbow. Fallen cherry blossom provides a sprinking Continue reading
The seasons are a changing. I can feel spring – the warm sun burning on my face after so many long months away. I can smell spring – the aroma of freshly cut grass. I can hear spring – the orchestra of birds singing in the early morning with the rise of the sun. I can see spring – the dull, wet earth comes to life as snowdrops, daffs and crocuses bloom, while the cherry blosson fills the sky above.
I can’t taste spring though. I gave it some thought. But there is no taste to spring that brings memories of seasons past to life. Mrs P suggests the taste of fruit. That might be true to her, having been brought up in Mexico. But I was brought up in a world where supermarkets have the fruits of the world on shelves all year round. No sooner have the last of the English blackberries been picked off the bushes in August, than we have Mexican blackberries ready to replace them.
There is no taste of spring. I declare that to be so. But I welcome suggestions to the contrary. I blame globalisation. It’s an easy horse to whip.
I’m not much of a horticulturalist. Pretty much the opposite. I like nature, but I’m a city boy at heart. And whilst I appreciate the backdrop of a bloom, I’m rarely so taken that I feel the need to find out what sort of a bloom it is. Except in Mexico. Everyone there seems to measure the seasons by rainfall. Dry season and rainy season. But during my time there, the country experience more rainfail than rainfall. I measured the seasons more simply – Jacaranda season and Not Jacaranda season. I needed to know the name of the bloom to know the name of the season.
The seasons in England are far more dramatic than in Mexico. We have proper summers, autumns, winters and springs. And we definitely can’t measure them by rainfall, else the country would have but a single season. But plants can help to determine the time of year. Even more precisely than Mexico’s Jacarandas.
The snowdrops appear in January. February and March brings daffodils and crocuses. Primroses and violets in April and May sees the Rhododendrons and Bluebells add a splash of colour to rural England. The it’s summer and the country turns a lush, overwhelming green. Did you know that there are more species of plants in England than in any other country of the world? They’re not all native species of course, and I can’t find the link that I originally read to prove it. But I can believe it. The several of centuries of incessant collecting and cultivating that the country embarked on in the 1600’s is pretty evident whenever you visit a stately home.
I’ve decided to see if I can’t document as many of these blooms as possible this spring. I’ve started sets on Flickr and Google which I’ll add to. To get things off to a start, there’s a few shots of snowdrops. They aren’t native to England, but have made themselves quite at home here. They’re common enough for me to be able to name. I can’t promise I’ll be able to name every flower I snap. I’ll need some help.