Brighten up your day with Sue Grant’s weekly updates of what’s happening early doors in her garden this spring.
“I should have known. I was taking a risk. I planted out my carefully over-wintered geraniums … and the frost got them! Fortunately, only the smallest plants, with many others sufficiently sheltered. ‘What frost?’ asked some of my friends. Oh yes, out here in the sticks we have had early morning frosts and finger-numbing breezes. I’m tempted to delay my garden inspections until midday!
“However, I continue to look forward to these beautiful quiet moments before the day gets going. Quiet? The nuthatch pipes its shrill greeting, the great tit pierces the air with a monotonous shrill one-note call, warming up before the familiar ‘me too, me too’ cry, the woodpecker drums and the wren trills. Loudest of all, the cock pheasant, which thinks he owns this garden squawks and flaps his wings in annoyance at my appearance.
“But this week not the sounds but the colours rule. Not only the glory of huge crimson rhododendrons and dazzling orange azaleas, but the more subtle pieris, among my favourites, now displaying their clusters of pointed red bracts alongside creamy flowers and variegated green and white leaves.
“And the greens! Once bare winter branches now dusted with shades of green, from the delicate pendular filaments of the silver birches to the sturdy limbs of the surrounding oaks. The buds on each of these grand old giants have their own times of unfolding and their own springtime shades of green, from golden to russet to almost lemon pale. Across the field I can no longer see the crows’ nest, and very soon all my efforts to discover the woodpeckers’ hideout will be thwarted by foliage.
“Back to that pheasant. He stalks his territory, proudly lording it over about seven servile, dull brown females. Or that’s what I thought about them until one morning, when I was standing motionless in my attempts at wren-spotting, one of them came right up to my feet. I was amazed and delighted by this close-up view of the intricate feather patterns caught in the morning sunlight. Complex arrangements of russet and chestnut browns, golden and creamy whites. I still bemoan the way they trample down my emerging lilies, but I no longer call them dull.”
See all articles from Sue Grant’s column about what’s happening early doors in her garden.