Monday, 26 March 2012

Spring Encore!

At last it's really here after 6 months of single digit temperatures. Consistent sunny weather has arrived, for a while. What a difference it makes to me to feel the warm sun on my skin and hear the birds chirping, admiring a cock pheasant patrolling his territory, talking to the ewes in the paddock (short attention spans), marvelling at how the buds on the chestnut trees have suddenly sprung open and and are unfurling leaves and flowers simultaneously.

I do believe that by the end of the week many trees will be dressed in their greenest greens, most prunus will be riotously in flower and my winter blues will be behind me. The animals are well and truly paired up. nests are being extended,

There's a bank of grass at work that isn't mowed frequently and the benefits of that are beautifully obvious - primroses, wild ones have ruffled faces everywhere. It's delightful except when silly me decides it looks better if I pull out a young nettle. Instant burning pain which lasts a week. Something made a hole in my right thumb and got inside with the nettle juice- caution next time Frances, near the nettles.

A visit to the garden centre is always a source of pain too. I so miss and need a garden of my own. Whenever I was stressed out I used to be able to tend my plants, potter around the plant shop, make baby plants from division or cuttings, plan new flower beds and vegetables for the coming season, smile at the butterflies and bugs and best of all, watch the spectacle of tuis bathing near me in the bird bath. But that's all gone. It's been gone for nearly two years. My favourite hobby (other than reading) is not possible where I live. I'm barely getting away with being allowed to keep my window boxes and herb container.

I'm so frustrated by the loss and the lack of connection with animals. No pets for nearly two years too. No possibility to have any with my current lifestyle. I see so much potential in other peoples' properties which is never used, tidied, all just wasted through lack of interest or imagination. I wonder if people with unused land realise how precious that is and how important it is to use it for leisure or food production.

At least I managed to cut some fresh chives today. They survived the ice and frost and were so tender and fresh in my salad tonight. I'll get some basil plants in a few weeks when all danger of frosts is past. Yes, visiting a garden centre is a mixed bag of emotions including curiosity.

So many beautiful displays-the French have real flair with plants and in flower shops. The Easter displays are already out. I loved the use of birds eggs and feathers. Were they really real? I do hope no chicks suffered in the making of...

It's so icy in France in Winter that the rose plants have wax protecting their cane stumps. There's a wonderful choice in lilacs if you've got a garden with space, and fruit bushes and canes galore. Nice presentation. And oh the pots. How did they know to order in my favourite colours. I must save up and get one for indoors. I can't use anything nice outdoors as it would be stolen by passers by.

The garden centre had a great display of BBQs. They seemed generally to be of a different design to those found in New Zealand and the prices were either very reasonable for the bottom end or ridiculously pricey for the outdoor kitchens; not much in between. It's been 35 years since I've bought a BBQ. I hope it won't be too many years until I can do it again - I love indoor-outdoor flow.


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