Posted by: christinelaennec | April 9, 2015

In the garden and in the park: 9th of April

Katharine Stewart begins her essay for April 9th with:  “The curlew’s call now accompanies all the garden work.” (p. 58, A Garden in the Hills).  Here in Glasgow I don’t think there are curlews about – I could be wrong – but the blackbirds, sparrows, tits and starlings are very vocal, which delights me.

Bird life in the park is mysterious and interesting.  One of the swans – Mama swan from last year? – is now sitting on the nest:

Mama swan on her nest, end of March 2015, Glasgow.

Mama swan on her nest, end of March 2015, Glasgow.

But there are still masses of other swans in the park.  I counted over 25 of them yesterday.  And they are courting:

Courting swans, end of March 2015.  Glasgow.

Courting swans, end of March 2015. Glasgow.

They are beautiful to watch, when their two bowed heads seem to form a heart shape.  Where will all these potential swan couples find a place to nest?  Will they fly off soon?  Will there be a dozen swan families in the park?  Time will tell.

Katharine Stewart quoted T.S. Eliot’s “April is the cruellest month” and reflected:  “I wonder if he really knew how right he was. The vegetable plots are ready now and I am tempted to sow and plant.  But the whisper of experience is there, close to my ear.  There’s frost to come and lashing rain…” (p. 58)

We had a frost here yesterday morning, so it will be a while yet, even in the tropical lowlands of Glasgow, before it is safe to plant tender things.

Stewart wrote:  “The laborious task of clearing is often relieved by the unearthing of strange things. … An interesting find one day was a Lovat Scout badge, perhaps fallen from the lapel of a digger years ago!” ( p. 58-59)  (The Lovat Scouts were a Highland Army unit raised by Lord Lovat at the beginning of the 20th century.)  In my garden I have also been tidying and clearing, and have found a treasure:  a primrose that I didn’t plant myself.  Look how charming it is:

Volunteer primrose in my front garden.  Glasgow, 9 April 2015.

Volunteer primrose in my front garden. Glasgow, 9 April 2015.

I did plant the narcissi bulbs myself last October, and it is good to see their cheerful faces.  I believe this variety is in fact “Yellow Cheerfulness” from Clare Bulbs.

Narcissi in my front garden, 9 April 2015.

Narcissi in my front garden, 9 April 2015.

Even with frosts still possible, things are beginning to really put on growth.  If you click here you will see the difference a few weeks has made:

For point of comparison:  growth spurt! 9 April 2015.

For point of comparison: growth spurt! 9 April 2015.

Katharine Stewart, curbing her impatience to sow and plant, writes:  “We must wait a month yet, and try for a waxing moon.” (p. 58)  I am not going to wait a month to sow my poppies, nigella and marigolds.  Partly because I do want to wait until the new moon, and partly because I’m about to leave for five days, and I don’t want to add watering to Michael’s responsibilities while I’m away.  Also, the poppies need to be sown before it warms up too much – they need cold to germinate.

The poor Dafter has been particularly unwell with tonsillitis.  She has been amazed by the sympathy she’s received – this is clearly an ailment that people recognise as painful and serious.  Since she feels so unwell with ME/CFS at the best of times, she has been joking about answering any queries about her health with “Well, I’m not quite up to 50%, but getting there!”

I have been sitting by the bedside a bit more than lately – a salutary reminder that she is better, because for so long that was my and her reality.  And I’ve used the time to fashion a little pouch for my trip, made from the yarn I bought at the Edinburgh Yarn Festival:

Wee pouch made from Koigu yarn, April 2015.

Wee pouch made from Koigu yarn, April 2015.

Ravelry details are here, if you are interested.

So I am away tomorrow, God willing, to the Isle of Harris for a getaway.  I’m really looking forwards to it.  If you’re interested to see where I’m going, here are some links to the posts I did last year:

The village of Tarbert

The Harris Tweed Shop

Eilean Scalpaigh

The Sabbath on the Isle of Harris

The West Side of Harris


Mar sin leibh an drasda / cheery bye the noo!



  1. Enjoy!

  2. Greetings. I hope the Dafter gets over her tonsillitis soon. Have a great trip.

  3. In Fall I remembered to bring in my geraniums before they could get frozen and now they are twice as big as then and starting to bloom…but in spite of our warmer than usual Winter, I am reluctant to replant them back in the outdoor window box just in case April experiences its cruellest. Thanks for sharing photos of your lovely swans and flowers, and the very pretty pouch you made, Christine. I hope Dafter feels better soon and that she and Michael have a positive time while you enjoy the Isle of Harris!! 🙂 xx

  4. I do hope you have a lovely visit to Harris, the fresh sea air will do you good! Poor Dafter it’s such a painful thing, there seems to be alot of tonsillitis about just now, my grandson had it last month and my grand daughter got it just before they set off to Dubai, however her medicine did the trick and she was fine after a few days. Safe journey, I look forward to some wonderful photographs 😀 x

  5. Sorry about your daughter. Your little handbag looks quite nice. I will be interested to hear about the swans.

  6. The past few months have been so busy and I’ve missed reading my favorite blogs and keeping up with everything. I’m sorry to hear the dafter is not feeling well. I’ll be keeping her in my prayers. Glad to hear you off to have an adventure – would love to make it to the Isle of Harris someday when I get to Scotland!

  7. Thank you all for your comments! And thanks for your good wishes for the Dafter. She seems to be holding her own – I hope – after a course of antibiotics. Except for the swan on her nest, the others are all still in the park swimming around the pond. I am still waiting to see what they will do.

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