It was a bright, chilly, sunny walk to school this morning. What a change from yesterday, when the heavens let rip and rain came down aplenty. A morning to listen to birdsong – dunnock, robin, wren – and calls – mistle thrush, great tit, goldfinch – in the trees and hedges. A pair of carrion crows were chasing each other all around the large trees at the end of our road: I interpreted their enthusiasm as amorously inclined, but I might have been wrong. Jackdaws too were prospecting nest sites in amongst the chimney pots.
In the garden the snowdrops have already been and gone, but the first daffodils are showing, and there are some lovely Helleborus nodding in the sunshine.
One of my favourite plants at this time of year is Dwarf Comfrey (Symphytum ibericum), which flowers enthusiastically and provides much needed early food for insects.
The flowers start as tiny pink-orange buds, before bursting into deliciously creamy white bells. It has spread along the path to the front door, softening the edging, and utterly smothering the previously ubiquitous Ground Elder (Aegopodium podagraria) – beautiful and useful: William Morris would have approved.
The seeds Molly and I sowed a couple of weeks ago (see my last blog) came up really well, and some of the young plants have already been moved into the greenhouse prior to potting-on from their seed modules. Pea ‘Meteor’ was very successful, with every seed germinating, as was Tomato ‘Black Cherry’ which will give me lots of plants – some of which will be heading for the plant stall at St Mark’s School when they’re bigger. We are planning to sell plants, and ultimately produce too, to make the school’s new allotment self-funding.
I have sown some other things over the last week or two – Comfrey (for the allotment), some salad leaves and radishes (‘Scarlet Globe’) in pots. As ever, the radishes germinated within 48 hours or so – no wonder they are such a good catch crop, and a useful indicator of where slower-growing seeds have been sown in the vegetable bed.
Now it’s sunnier and warmer my next job is to get the greenhouse emptied of plants that have been in there over winter, and thereby create more space for sowings and seedlings.