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:
But there are still masses of other swans in the park. I counted over 25 of them yesterday. And they are courting:
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:
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.
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:
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:
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:
Mar sin leibh an drasda / cheery bye the noo!