With a very unusual inch-plus of snow falling during the week, coupled with a fair bit of rain (which isn’t particularly unusual), we’ve pretty much kept out of the garden this week. It’s too wet to dig, although we could (and probably should) have sown some more seed – maybe the long weekend will provide more opportunities. However, the break in the work has allowed us to catch up a bit with the garden - strolling around with a cup of tea to see what's around.
The first welcome sight was the frog spawn in the pond. We’re delighted that there is already something of a pond here, and that the frogs already know where it is. Despite worries that the frogs had struggled to endure the very cold winter (which were reinforced by the lack of frog spawn until 11 March) we were relieved when the tally of clumps rose to around 18, and look forward to the first tadpoles later this month.
The first flowers of the year – some daffodils appearing through the now rather thick grass in the “orchard” are also a happy sight. We can only presume there are no snowdrops: despite it being an apparently good year everywhere else, none were on show here. This will have to be remedied next year – flowers are always a welcome sight after winter and early bulbs, such as snowdrops, daffs and crocuses always bring on the cheer of a spring and summer not too far away.
With such a cold start to the year, and a busy few weeks for us getting settled in, we’ve somewhat taken our eye off the other residents that already lived here. However, a Fallow Deer stag strolling through the garden one evening was a magical experience (somewhat tempered by the potential impact on the veg plot), and there are signs that a Pine Marten at the very least passes through. Many of the resident birds, including Starling, Pied Wagtail, Blackbird, Robin and Blue and Great Tit look like they are thinking about nesting somewhere around and the first summer visitor of the year, a Chiffchaff, was singing last weekend. Typically, recording for the breeding season for the Bird Atlas (http://www.birdatlas.net/) only started yesterday, so hopefully Mr. Chiffchaff will lift our spirits again this weekend. Perhaps then, despite the weather suggesting otherwise, spring is here for some of us.