Smelling like dirt.

‘In Spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.’
Margaret Atwood.

Well, I’ve got that one covered.

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April is, without a shadow of a doubt, my favourite month and the first week of April might be the best week; it’s just so loaded with anticipation. I love, love, LOVE it!

Every spare minute has been spent in the garden, weeding, planting sweetpeas, weeding, planting oca, weeding, staking sweetpeas, weeding, planting broad beans, weeding, racing inside for my camera to catch a bumblebee… you get the picture.

I think I mentioned that I covered two of my rhubarb plants with big buckets in an attempt to force them. It didn’t work. The resulting rhubarb was was white, bland and had the texture of asparagus. Trust me, asparagus with custard is not a good thing. I’ve no idea what went wrong. This is what remains:

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For comparison, if I take two steps to the right where the neighbouring plant was left to its own devices and hold my camera at the same height:

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Not to worry, we’re not likely to go short of the good, green and properly sharp stuff. I can live without the pink.

Aquilegias are surging upward from every nook and cranny. I am a fan of any flower that just gets on with  living without demanding my attention. Aquilegias look so dainty with their delicate shade of green and pretty bonnets but they are resilient little madams and indecent self-seeders.

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And I have bluebells. My first college bedsit had a garden that was completely over run by bluebells. Bluebells, for me, signal exam time. They recall memories of studying with a big jug of flowers on my desk, the window thrown open and a Solero to keep me going. Soleros were new then, mangos too, and very exotic.

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Small Girl is a born gardener. She keeps her wellies outside the back door, like a pro, and follows me every time I sneak outside. She makes mud cakes and searches for ladybirds and tends her little fairy garden.

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The bees are becoming something of an obsession. They are endlessly entertaining. I could, I do, watch them for hours. I’ve followed a few bee people on Instagram and I am slowly picking up a little more knowledge. I learned this week that the flowers of Pulmonaria (Lungwort/Soldiers and sailors) change colour from blue to pink once they’ve been pollinated. I’ve noticed them turning pink but never thought too deeply about it.

Just look at this guy hanging on to his cup. Could anything me more amazing?

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Most of our food-growing efforts are just for fun, to experiment a little, to expose the kids to some unusual produce and for the sheer satisfaction of it. The fruit bushes, on the other hand, are really productive. I used the last of my freezer stocks last month. That was a whole winter of gooseberry cakes, gooseberry jam, red, and white currant jellies and I am halfway through my last jar of crab apple jelly.

And now we get to start all over again. April is my birthday month. In every way, April really is the beginning of a new year. Can you see the little baby gooseberry forming behind the flower?

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April. The smell of dirt, the hum of bees, the relief of new beginnings, and this:IMG_5251 (2)

Wishing you a sunny, humming, dirt-filled weekend.

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5 thoughts on “Smelling like dirt.

  1. Gooseberry flowers are wonderful aren’t they. So small you have to get right in there or you miss them. It’s utterly glorious out there at the moment. I was given a mountain of rhubarb the other day, love it. I got some free seeds from Blooms for Bees this year to do a survey thing for them. I have to grow three red dahlia plants, three white and three purple. Then once a month I have to see what bees go on each colour, identify them (eek) and photograph them. The seedlings are up, so far so good. I live in fear of slugs and snails once they go outside. Hope you have a good weekend. I am planning on getting the beansticks up and the beans in. CJ xx

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  2. oh lynda – how lovely you make it sound! Happy birthday month! and happy gardening! It snowed here today! SNOW! and is to be 75 degrees F by Sunday – surely crazy weather. ENJOY!

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  3. Aquilegia are one of my favourite plants, I love the common names for them. We have a red gooseberry tree, they are lovely and sweet. My forced rhubarb did the same as yours, while my daughters has been ok. I wonder, do you think it could be a variety issue?Mine was an early one.

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