Something happened this weekend, something we’ve all been eagerly waiting for; spring finally sprung! The sun shined, the air felt warm and nature was starting to stir. From the early shoots on a newly-pruned clematis to the sound of a lone bee bouncing drowsily around my polytunnel, it seemed that everything was finally starting to wake up.
In the garden, I cut down blackened perennials from last year and did some weeding and mulching. I’ve been growing several plants from seed that will eventually go out into the garden, but I’m no fool; I’ve learnt the hard way that despite these bright days, the nights are still Jack Frost’s domain and now is not the time for planting out my young seedlings. To do so would only end in tears with me on my knees, holding my withered plants as I look to the sky in despair yelling ‘NOOOO!’
Up on the plot, I was keen to bury my fingers in soil, so I headed for the warming polytunnel to sow tomatoes, leeks, chard, basil, lettuce, pak choi and beetroot (Boltardy, Chioggia & Albina Vereduna). The Albina Vereduna variety are from Rob Smith’s heritage range at Dobies. I’m keen to try these as they’re meant to have a different, sweeter taste.
I’m expecting to plant out my seeded potatoes and sow some early carrots and parsnips before the end of the month so today I also placed a fleece over the beds in the hope it will warm the soil to give me a headstart.
There is a moment in every gardener’s day when time stands still. No matter the long list of jobs clamouring for our attention, we all take solace in this moment. We stop, breathe in the air, take in our surroundings, the colours, sights and smells. It’s something only us gardeners know about and appreciate. Being still with ourselves, and with nature. Not to get too poetic, it’s when we submit ourselves, totally, to the moment. I think this is what they call mindfulness.
For me, it was bathing in the warming sun and watching the other allotmenteers going about their tasks, all part of the allotment life at large, all busying themselves like bees in a hive. As well as the regular faces, there were some new ones. The once unkept, unloved plots were now getting a new lease of life from keen hands with new ideas.