As the garden starts to come alive I am entranced by the flowers and slow unfurling of leaves, but even more so by the birdsong. On particularly warm mornings I wander around the garden spellbound by its luxuriating beauty. Only occasionally does London intrude, people are still huddled inside against the cold and the noisy season hasn't started.

As the month progresses I chart the decline of the snowdrop and the gradual emergence of other spring flowers, the increasing greenery and the signs of nest building with palpable joy.



1 March

Now it seems that spring really is here.  A cold bright day with an electric blue sky and out of the corner of my eye I saw a disturbance amongst the snowdrops.  Putting on my glasses and coming closer it really was: my first bumblebee of the year.  It seemed particularly greedy as it went nuzzling from one snowdrop to the next, or maybe it is just that I have got used to the somnambulant pace of winter.  My solitary crocus has also flowered, casting its petals aside with ecstatic abandon to reveal the dusty yellow of its stamens. 


3 March

In the garden this morning; full of song, robin, wren, tits and occasional goldfinch, but no blackbird yet.  The elder is also beginning to leaf, little swirls of green just starting to emerge.  But it is still bitterly cold.

5 March

The snowdrops are just starting to look tired, their petals stretched wide and looking ever so slightly ragged.  The celandine has also opened up its petals and shines it’s sunny smile up towards the sky. Great tits continue to be vocal and I notice the wrens singing more and more, it’s fast rapid trills echoing through the garden.  The peregrine visited us once more on Wednesday evening, but he has not scared off the wood pigeons who continued to walk sedately about the grass before thumping up into the trees whenever I appear.

Great Tit

8 March

This morning in the garden a bright blue day and the air full of birdsong.  In the treetops a small flock of green finches went by.  A greater spotted woodpecker high up in the beeches and later the sound of drumming echoing from a distant tree.  The mahonia is beginning to bloom, tight curls of yellow gradually emerging.  I was entranced, I don’t think I have ever seen so many different birds gathered in one place and everything so abundant and wild. 

11 March

The buds on the mulberry tree are growing black and buxom.  But for the time being the leaves are hidden and it is the best time of the year for seeing birds.  The woodpecker was scavenging around the mulberry tree and a pair of goldfinches singing to each other in its branches.  Goldfinchs seen to be very common this year, a friend mentioned this to me and yesterday in West London I saw two more.

13 March

It was a lovely gentle, soft, morning.  Insects were dancing above the lawn, a robin and goldfinch sung above the brambles and a jay swooped low through the garden.  It was one of those moments when it feels blissful to be alive.  As I came into the garden what looked like a flock of chaffinchs flew up from the mulberry and the woodpecker could be seen, again, exploring its nooks and crannies.  With the snowdrops fading and little else yet in bloom the garden is not particularly colourful but the warm light and zigzagging insects made it feel alive.


16 March

The violets have started to flower.  There are not many of them but tucked away under the mulberry tree a few plants creep in under the snowdrops.  And everywhere else flowers are appearing, daffodils are beginning to open, the forsythia was showing its first bloom and out of the dark earth the dark shoots of fritillaries are beginning to appear.

18 March

It has been a noisy day.  The wind has got up and snatches of sound can be heard swirling in the air.  Jays also seem to have reappeared in the garden and their cackling is often heard, the other day one appeared at our kitchen window in all its resplendent finery.  The parakeets have also been noisy, flying in from the park, although I have never actually seen one in the garden.  But the day started with the most overwhelming noise.  The surgery had got in contractors to tidy up their little pieces of green grass.  One of these begoggled and ear muffed men was deploying a leaf blower, but it seemed to me particularly ill suited to his task, he spent ages on the small piece of ground outside the nursery.  A rake and broom would surely have achieved his task more efficiently. But instead we had the sound of a jet engine bouncing off the buildings and smothering the garden with noise.

22 March

A windy day.  The garden gate slams with alarming venom.  But it is warmer.  The snowdrops, apart from a few isolated corners, have now all disappeared and become all but invisible in the green swell of the bluebell leaves.  But the daffodils are all flowering and the lawn has come alive with the shy flowers and creeping foliage of violets.  I prefer the violets, there is nothing wrong with daffodils but they are ornamental whilst the violets seem woven into the fabric of the garden.  

Yesterday there was a green woodpecker on the lawn.  It flew up into a sycamore tree with a flash of yellow.  There it yaffled loudly and as I crept nearer flew off in bounding leaps, but I could hear it for sometime later.


25 March

The wrens seem to have been particularly active.  They sing continually and have become the dominant voice in the garden, displacing the robins.  I saw one today with nesting material, longer than its own body length.  Jays are also often visible and I managed to get a good picture of one in the mulberry tree.  Elsewhere the garden is bursting into life, the forsythia has suddenly erupted, enlivening the whole place…  and making the daffodils seem more natural in the process

29 March

Opening the door today I was greeted with a soft warm rain and a great tit carrying a little twig.  Everything is growing.  The trees have started to blossom, in the wilderness, hidden away from sight, the cherry trees (at least I suppose that’s what they are) have suddenly burst into a bridal gown of white.  And beneath the mulberry tree a cowslip has thrown up flowers


Everything is Growing

It is organized, I am sure, by bumblebees
They foment the great revolt,
Their erratic journeys mustering the troops of spring
Which soon will vanquish cold and snow and bitter ice.
They cajole the flowers
Buzz the grass
Awaken in every green and living thing
The possibility of life
The opportunity of growth.