Last March we were in lockdown and life was getting tough. Oh wait, we’re still in lockdown. But the thing is, that’s just us humans – all the other wildlife around us is getting on with life just as usual this Spring. That makes me feel just a teeny bit better. I know Spring is here cos I can hear the birds busting a gut singing along my street whenever I walk my dog. I know Spring is here cos it’s still light at 5pm when I walk my dog (again). And I see the snowdrops and crocuses out and know that means the Spring daffodils are just getting on their yellow and white dresses, before dancing their joyous dance for us in the March breezes.
I’m writing this blog today to encourage us to lift our tired heads and look around us, hear the message that creation is trying to tell us, and join in.
In this Spring world of hormones, sex and general liveliness in the animal kingdom, there’s plenty happening in the world of plants too. In fact, both are bound up together. Without the mini-beasts in the soil, there would be no rich nourishment for the plants. Before the plants can sprout their spring green they need to draw up food and water from the earth. Many over-wintering insects also live in crevices in the soil, beneath stones or tucked away quietly beneath gently fading foliage – have you ever moved a pot off the patio and found a little nest of snails coiled up together inside? In turn these small creatures become essential food for other animals – birds, hedgehogs, foxes. And as the plants take in sun and air they also become food sources, and habitats too.
Feel the call
• 5-minute breather – grab a coat, get a few moments fresh air and sunshine on your balcony/doorstep/patio. Look up & breathe deep.
• 10-minute time out – plant a few seeds in a pot, maybe herbs like basil and parsley, put it on the windowsill to germinate. As you check it daily, give thanks for the bounty of nature.
• 20-minute home art session – take the kids out with you, take a bag and put in leaves, stones, sticks, old flowerheads, whatever you can find, and make an outdoor collage together
• 30-minute arm workout – give your patio/drive/outdoor space a really good brushing; rake leaves off the lawn; move the patio furniture outside ready for summer. I guarantee your muscles will feel this!
And, most importantly:
• Any time at all – be attentive to nature. There are dandelions growing in the pavement as you wait at the traffic lights, songthrushes repeating their evening call from the tops of trees, minibeasts crawling along the path at your feet. This is such a good way to get out of your own head and be reminded of the wider world.
Feed your soul
I’m a garden designer and plants are my passion. So for me, growing stuff is always a delight. Naturally I want to encourage you to enjoy it too! For today’s blog, let me just say that there’s plenty of information out there. And if you want to try something new and fun this year, now is exactly the right time to start off your edible’s seeds (try early lettuces, radish, peas) and flowers (cosmos, nigella, sweet peas). Take a look at our blog on edible gardening
“hang Spring cleaning” said the Mole
‘The Wind in the Willows’ by Kenneth Grahame is one of my favourite childhood books, maybe yours too. In the story, Mole is tackling the chores when he hears Spring calling him. In response he bolts out of the house and rediscovers the delight of Spring without its cleaning, and the joy of living. I think it’s time for us to follow that same path – let’s go!
Perhaps you’re feeling the need to ‘spring clean’ your garden, get in touch with North Leeds Garden Design to start planning your garden or planting design