Van Gogh Days

Well, mea culpa etc, it has been quite a while since my last post. Things have been a trifle hectic, of which more in another post. For now, I shall start catching up in the manner of a modern whydunit – i.e. at the end.

I strode forth with Lyra yesterday morning, after a few days away settling mum back at home, to find that everything had changed – again. The hedgerow and garden birds are in full nest building mode. Twigs and bits of straw drop randomly from the sky as they pass overhead and there is an air of intense bustling. A house sparrow has moved into one of the nests built in the bathroom window last year by the house martins and personalised it. The rather sleek lines of house martin style is now scarred by an extra long twig poking out drunkenly like a bad fitted TV ariel. My morning ablutions and evening bath are now cheered by vigorous twittering as he pokes his head out and draws the attention of all the passing ladeez to his very desirable residence. As we skirted the final field before home, looking up I noted a large and distinctly raggedy nest. Buzzard or crow I wonder?

Suddenly, all around we are on the cusp of peak yellow and blue. I suppose the first signs had been there a few days ago when mum, Lyra and I took a spin around the Hirsel coo circular. In the daffodil beds the blue bells were starting to peep through and the anemones in the wood by the stream were spangled with acid yellow Celandine stars. (These look so perky in the woods but a bit of a menace in the garden and prone to infest any compost I make, compounding the issue). The Dandelions have also been cheering up the verge (and taunting me in the borders) for a week or so. However, it was only as Lyra and I strolled along past Butterlaw and noticed the first yellow blush of oilseed rape on the crest of the rise that I realised we had come quite so far along in the season. A canter round the garden removed all doubt. Anemone de Caen glowing in the gravel garden and the beds by the bottom pond. By the bottom pond we have marsh marigolds galore and the first hint of colour on the camassia buds. In a week or so we will be living in a Van Gogh painting.

The usual spring dry phase has begun. The muddy zones around the field edges are dry and cracked and the water in the drainage ditches has all but disappeared. At home the borders where the soil is in the “yet to be much improved” category are baked solid. It is too hot to take a pickaxe to the weeds so they have a stay of execution until we see any rain. Mature plants are surviving well, the clay retains water at the deeper levels well so once the roots are strong our plants have good drought resistance. New planting popped in optimistically earlier in the season are looking distinctly peaky though. I’m not keen on watering the garden – it makes things too petty and encourages surface roots, but I haven’t the heart to abandon the new babies so I am trotting round with the watering can most days. The warm weather has also brought out Keith’s knees and he is sporting his tattiest ” oldest Boy Scout” look. He is not minded to change for a mere dog walk so my apologies are hereby extended to anyone having a pleasant stroll in the Hirsel who is startled by the sight of a scruffy Herbert with knobbly knees singing a medley of Duran Duran tunes whilst walking a rather glamorous dog. On the topic of said dog, discipline has fallen by the wayside in my absence. She has now colonised the front seat in the Jag and yesterday Lachlan and I were downgraded to the back seat. To get in on the “most indulged animal” act Catriona has conveyed (how I know not) a fondness for bananas and now gets a fruit bowl treat most days.

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