April 22, 2022

Garden Diary

Flower Garden

Easter Monday 18th April 2022

By Jessica Edwards

There was a content, busy silence between the two of us today, as if muddy hands needed quiet, leading the way toward the needs of the garden. The sun shone as our bodies were carried around by the Cornish spring breeze. Blissfully focused as hours passed us by and without our minds tied to time we were urged on by plants, new and old. The birds skit and flit, now you see them, now you don't, we have interrupted their world. They watch us from the hedges, singing to one another, and when our backs are turned they are back on the beds. (Somebody recently asked me if I listen to podcasts while working? No never. How could I sense what the plants are trying to tell me? It's hard enough to wear gloves when needs must.)

Starting the day there is the occasional word here and there but then we tune in, not with an itinerary or even a list and then we are gone, submerged into another world, the way a dog is led by his nose, sniffing his way along a path, then across the bay... we allow Mother Nature to be heard and felt -  seedlings have outgrown trays and are looking for their grownup beds. Too eager - I took geraniums out of the greenhouse but they are shivering, leaves stiff and almost turning blue - and so go back in to the warmth. The soil is hungry for nutrients - homemade compost is added. It is a thing of beauty. Everyone who can should make their own compost. To dig down to the bottom of your pile is to find gold. We enjoy the feel of it in our hands, rich but not clogged, dense but not compacted, loose but not fine or dry. In a funny way it's so full of goodness it sort of feels clean in your hands. 

As we make our way we enjoy how one job leads to the necessity to do another - prepare, plant, water, weed, feed. And then comes the satisfaction of tucking a new plant in to its bed and giving it a long drink. Then we see a job on the way to the water butt and spend half an hour weeding around the asparagus before remembering what we were in the middle of. It can feel disjointed or scatty at times but it doesn't matter; the serendipitous nature of gardening is what we love and all that matters is that we are here in the garden, feeling our way.

Despite the concentrated calm between us there is the loudness of spring. Of course it is loud, this is APRIL!  The earth is in a frenzy of wakefulness, there is so much growing to do. Giant hands of rhubarb are waving us over, asking to be pulled as more and more waits to push upwards. Tired daffodils are nodding, tulips are taking their place. This is the cycle of life. As one thing of beauty comes to an end, another comes to life.

We have had some damp warmish days of fine light rain and hazy sunshine. You can really feel the love that the plants have for this perfect combination. It feels as though the worst of the mean winter winds have passed. Life is brave enough to show itself, bathed in longer days of glorious long awaited brighter light. These first few days of stillness and warmth open up the ground and there is a wonderful sense of relief that winter is over.

Today Fee has tackled the wild explosion of now empty seed trays and pots and re-organised the greenhouse; the ongoing traffic of new plants and germinating seeds take the place of potted-on fledglings now in the outside world hardening off. These brave new lives are now huddled together at the bottom of the garden sheltering by a wall. They cannot prepare for what faces them as in Cornwall no two days are the same. The wind can whip itself in a single half hour and with it the temperature plummets. Feathery fronds of brand new dill will have to grow strong roots, as will young Cosmos rising to reach for the sun, heads of nasturtium growing heavier begin to bow, runners are desperate to run and reach and Sweet Peas are ready to climb. Ammi Majus is ready to plant out and watering it in I can't help looking forward to their pure white frothy frills swaying in the summer breeze. Soon all the colours of mother nature will be here but I do not want to wish April away. This is Mid- April! Let’s enjoy every minute. What other time of year could hold more excitement? This is a time to be fully connected to the beauty and real peace the garden can give us.

After a glorious few hours of total submersion in our love of nurturing in what is to be another raised bed. Fee brings cups of tea and lemon curd cake and we sit in the 5 o'clock sun in absolute awe of a row of scarlet tulips. The wind has dropped and in this late hour the light is golden. They stand proud... as if to say you can look but don't touch. But I have to put down my tea and get up close to the them. The petals feel like nothing else on earth... the perfection is breathtaking.