Posted by: christinelaennec | March 2, 2015

In like a lion

The night of February 28th to March 1st was very stormy indeed.  I found it hard to sleep for the noise of the slates rattling and the house being buffeted by the wind.  In Aberdeen I was very used to sleeping through just this kind of racket, but it’s not such a common occurrence where we live in Glasgow.  Yesterday in church, there were such heavy showers that the noise on the roof nearly drowned out the sermon!  And, as is the way in spring, there were also sunny intervals:

A (non-native) primrose and some tête-à-tête narcissi.

A (non-native) primrose and some tête-à-tête narcissi. 1st of March, 2015, Glasgow.

Do you see the plant behind the primrose that looks like clumps of grass?  I’m not quite sure what it will be.  A neighbour gave it to me, saying that the lady who owned our house for 61 years before we did, had it in her/our garden, and had given her a cutting years ago.  So it has come back, and I hope it will be happy.

Are we in spring, or winter still?  The spring equinox isn’t for three weeks yet, but the meteorological year counts spring as beginning March 1st.  It’s an in-between time, that’s for certain.  In her March 2nd essay, Katharine Smith wrote:  “Waking to what looks, from the window, like a reasonable day, reminding myself that this really is March and we should be heading for spring, I hurry through a watered-down version of essential indoor jobs and make for the garden…  Scanning it today I smile ruefully as I look in vain for a rewarding sign of anything green. … This is the time when, every year, I wonder if I’ll ever get things to grow again in any sort of order, yet, somehow it is achieved.” (p. 51)

Here in the lowlands of Glasgow, we do have green in the garden, and even little primroses and narcissi, as you can see.  There are also lots of dead leaves piled in various corners.

She goes on to write, “I very much hope, too, that some of the young people who live here now may get the gardening fever.  It has to be a fever, I think, and an incurable one at that…”  I agree that it’s important to give children a taste of gardening.  But I will say that my own early experiences with gardening were extremely off-putting.  I spent many hours working in the garden as a child, but my father was a hard task-master and his love of tomato plants left me cold.  I did enjoy gardening with my Granny, however.  I could see that it was a joy for her.  It wasn’t until I was in my late twenties that I planted my own garden, with the things that I longed to grow, and it was then that I began to discover the thrill of gardening.  And for me, happily, it has been a fever that hasn’t lifted.

Katharine Stewart’s foray into her garden on March 2nd was short-lived.  She stretched some black plastic bin liners over a stretch of earth, weighing them down with stones, in order to begin to warm the ground for spring planting.  “The rain really has an edge to it now, coming almost horizontally, in wind-chilled bursts.  My morning thoughts and hopes of spring are dashed.  Of course, our seasons don’t go by the calendar, but by whatever is brewing up in Siberia.  I have to acknowledge this was a false start.  There will be more to come.”  (p. 52)

False starts:  the encapsulation of spring, it seems to me.  We are so impatient for warmth, growth, and new life.  We are given glimpses that are both hugely satisfying and tantalising, so that we are left wanting more.  And that is the nature of spring!  It’s a test of patience and faith.  Is it any wonder the early Christian church fixed the season of Lent and Easter in the springtime?  Yesterday Tilly and I went out into the back garden, me to collect leaves from the lawn and Tilly to chew on grass.  The sky blackened and there was a sudden, thunderous downpouring of hailstones.  Tilly dashed inside ahead of me, and stood in the porch looking out, aghast.  Like Katharine Stewart, Tilly and I retreated into the kitchen.  Tilly didn’t join me in having a cup of tea, but I certainly enjoyed mine!

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Responses

  1. March begins with strangely mild weather this year, no sign of Spring by way of flowers, but much less snow than usual and l have even heard the sound of birds singing when l walk my dog. Winter is fighting a loosing battle, soon it will have to admit defeat. ~ Pam ~

  2. Can’t wait to see what your “interesting grass plant” turns out to be! How fun that it is coming back to the garden! We’ve just had our first good-sized snowfall of the winter! 7 inches this weekend and now we are to have 50F weather tomorrow. Craziness! no hope for lovely spring sights like you have yet. 🙂 I see on the Pacific NW that they have much the same as you do.

  3. Sun, cold and the ever present wind in north east Aberdeenshire. Lots of buds shooting out of the ground but no flowers as yet.

  4. I would definitely say you have reached spring (at least the beginnings of it) if you have green, buds, flowers, a touch of warmth. All we will have is snow, more snow, more white long past the Equinox. But the temperatures slowly are warming. Perspective is such a funny thing, isn’t it?

  5. The winter flowers posing under the winter sun are lovely. We had some much needed rain here in southern California this weekend. There’s some lovely clouds this morning so hopefully we will have a little more.

  6. This post left me chuckling, Christine, as I imagined you and Tilly aghast and dashing to safety 🙂 We are having a sunny march toward Spring here thus far with rain showers falling conveniently last night when I could not see them, and so gently I would not have known they arrived had I not seen evidence of rain drops on our cars this morning. But I am rather holding my breath in wonder of our early signs of Spring, and bracing myself for the possibility of future arctic blasts knowing from past experience that the contractions of weather are necessary for birthing a new season. Wishing blessings for you and yours as you march forth with faith. xx

  7. I think lots of us have been caught out in hail, sleet and snow this past wee while. I watch the weather avidly looking for one of those sunny periods to take the dog a walk, sometimes we’re lucky and others not so much. Tonight I was very lucky and got a dry walk but we were no sooner home than the hailstones preceded quite a significant snowfall. I can’t wait for spring now and some warmer weather to tempt me into my messy garden to get started tidying it! Your flowers look lovely, hopefully soon there will be lots more. x

  8. The plant that looks like little grassy clumps reminds me of my white Pinks “Mrs Sinkins” that I have in a pot in my back garden. Perhaps yours will be of the same plant family.

  9. Oh how nice to have signs of spring. Nothing like that here, but hopefully soon. Keep posting, I so love reading your writings.

  10. It’s so easy to be lulled into a false sense of security by a warm sunny day at this time of year. It can be disappointing when the weather gets very cold all of a sudden but I’d rather have those brief signs of spring than not have them. How intriguing about the grass-like plant, it’ll be interesting to see what becomes of it. I hope it thrives.

  11. Thanks, everyone! Yes, Gracie, spring is like a birthing. Well put! And, as you say Kathy, it is a matter of perspective.

    Melinda, I have a Mrs Sinkins too, it smells fantastic. But this plant doesn’t seem to be a pink or carnation to me. Time will tell!


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