Spring Is Ticking

Tired but happy lady stands by a wheelbarrow in a green field. It's cloudy.

It has been a while since I wrote a blog post - I have been writing books, and keeping a diary, the days and the work aren’t lost, just ticking quietly in a corner.

[There’s a little dust in that corner but the shelf is made of strong oak planks, and the light is enchanting. A plant grows in a pot, it spouts leaves. A half candle stands in a china holder.]

At Paddock Garden (properly titled Paddock Garden Orchards, I am a lazy typer) a tree corral has been constructed. It contains persimmons which may not have survived the recent cold blasts and heavy rain, along with some happy pepper trees, bladdernuts, and plum yews. We plan to underplant and interplant extensively in this concentrated area.
Around the grounds also we have begun some windbreak hedges, mostly of elaeagnus and hazel.
We have a line of sapling native oaks edging the spinney.
The first of our camping bay areas is growing emerald grass that was seeded last autumn; the second has recently been seeded; the last three need the stones raking out which is not a favourite job.
We have a new raspberry hedge, and many strawberry patches.
Rosa Rugosas planted last year are adorning themselves in bunches of leaves. Throngs of daffodils have bloomed and eased away; the last of our tulips add edible colour.
A day lily patch is spreading, ready for salad days.
The camelia drops blousy pink petals. Yellow celandines and dandelions dot the grass; primroses flower in pillow sized patches in the hedgerows; bluebell leaves have appeared.
It doesn’t seem like we have done much when we look at the whole of it but slowly, slowly, by dint of not giving up, the big picture is making progress.
We know that patience is required, though we can’t truthfully say we have got the hang of it. Every planting is a dream of what it will be. Every planting is a learning curve. I lose count of what plants we have lost but keep the lessons and learn the balances.
The same storms that may or may not have deluged away our persimmon trees are a source of good water: we have the first two of many rain collection stations almost in place.

In the wider world- personal and global- bad news abounds. It can be hard to hold onto hope. On our land there is hard work and reprieve; there is the balance. What takes can also give.

Dear reader, let us circle back to the strawberries:
Tiny leaves appear on the surface, one here, one over there, scattered. If you dig them up, thinking to move them, maybe you find fine roots- a new plant, from a random seed- but in places where a few years of growth have cycled through, the roots are thicker than my sturdy thumbs.
They are miraculous; woody and ancient, otherworldly, by appearance. Break one, and any tiny piece of dense twisty fibre will grow new life, over and over and over again. Those filaments of new root become this too- as though a strand of hair had become an oak.
What seemed deserted was dormant. What seemed fleeting was indestructible. What seemed disconnected was inseparable.

In spring, love the flowers.
In summer, love the fruit.
In autumn, love the leaves.
In winter, trust the source.

It is spring, in spite of the wet cold weather, so we love the flowers, we keep planting. The days and the work keep ticking.

[When the light is lowing, we reach for the china candle holder, and strike a match.]

Man is bent over a rake, slowly raking the stones out of a 9 meter square of tilled earth


It is lovely to see a post from you. You have been busy. And productive. And on this side of the world I am indeed loving the leaves.

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