I’m happy to say the garden has come a long way in the last month – back in March I was resigning myself to another desperately dry spring, but then the rain arrived, thankfully! Prior to that, it was clear to see that the plants (and the weeds!) were poised and waiting to grow, but the dry dusty conditions were threatening to stunt their spring exuberance.
Since the rain, everything has romped away, and the garden looks lovely in its spring green. There are little treasures flowering as well – look carefully around the Secret Garden for shy little dog violets, planted last autumn... And the first cowslips are sending up dainty sunshine yellow heads. The primroses are flowering with gay abandon, creating a carpet of butter-yellow in places. The bumblebees are enjoying early flowers such as ground ivy (not ivy at all but related to catnip), lungworts, deadnettles and hellebores.
I keep seeing voles in the garden - only ever a fleeting glimpse, so I don’t know if they’re bank- or field voles, but nice to see the biodiversity developing in the garden... There have been a pair of great spotted woodpeckers visiting the feeders from time to time – always lovely to watch. They’ll take a sunflower seed, fly back to the tree trunk, embed it in the bark and then use their beak as a chisel to peel off the shell. And today for the first time at Flatford, I saw a little owl. They are regularly heard, but not seen by me, until today!
This week (16 -22 April) is National Gardening Week. Here at Flatford we'll be hosting free guided walks and giving advice on making compost, gardening sustainably, and plant propagation, with a chance for visitors to propagate their own plant to take home. Why not come along if you're local? Activities run every afternoon from 1 - 4pm.