There are still at least six weeks to go before we reach the vernal equinox, the official first day of Spring, on March 20th. The recent cold snap left us in no doubt that winter is still here. Yet when the snow thawed it seemed that bulb shoots were more noticeable and here on the edge of the fens we enjoyed several bright, mild days that felt almost April-ish. I began to hear bluetits singing for the first time and the sunshine itself seemed a little stronger. The best place for me to spot signs of a new season approaching is our village wood. Minnie, our lurcher, came with me.
In my last post I wrote about the den we made on our New Years Day woodland walk. That day I spotted a clump of shoots, around two inches tall and took a picture (shown at the top of this post), with half a mind to come back and check on their progress. Exactly a month later I walked to the same spot with Minnie, suddenly remembered the shoots and found that they were snowdrops, now in bud. I admit to gasping when I saw them. It was such a heartening sight. Nearby I found a clump of aconites in flower that hadn’t been showing above the ground on 1st January. Despite walking through this patch of wood many times I had no clue that they were growing here. It was as good as finding a forgotten bar of chocolate in the bread bin. Well, almost.
After the discovery of the snowdrops and aconites in the wood I started to look in earnest for signs of Spring. It wasn’t difficult. I spotted mature catkins just a few metres away, and the lone primrose on the village green that I’d photographed on New Years Day has been joined by a chorus of others. Most cheery of all, though, was the sight of the first of my hellebores opening its flowers.
Catkins and snowdrops are hardly showy – if they were to stand next to a border of dahlias they would barely be noticed – but after a winter of dreary weather, colds and even ‘flu there’s nothing I had longed to see more. Spotting signs of spring is as good for lifting the spirits as an open fire, a cosy quilt and a glass of ginger wine. I highly recommend it.
Thanks for reading!