We have vacated the homestead for a week in the highlands (of which more anon) so this is the last report from Ruthven for a while.
The days before we left were a welter skelter of trying to hoof out the worst of the shepherd’s purse and other muscular self seeders from the borders in the hope of avoiding a second generation on our return. It was, naturally, quite futile. I got distracted yet again by plants in the wrong place and instead of hoeing I was wielding the spade and left behind a quivering foam of tiny white flowers and black seed pods just waiting for my back to turn before peppering the warming soil. Strolling round for a last look before we left it was clear that in the sheltered nooks of the garden, spring was beginning to wane. The white daffodils and muscari are always the last hurrah. We will return, I think, to a quite different garden. In the greenhouse my serried ranks of seedlings are jostling and stretching, ready to be loosed in any spaces left behind by the retreating bulbs. There is a dumpy bag of soil improver waiting for my attention, but I am now in the spell of Glenelg, transitioned to devil may care highlander, so I care not a jot. It’ll all just have to wait.
Spring lingers gently though, in the woods and fields. Under the trees the wild anemone are only just beginning to flower and there is a warm glow from the primroses clambering up bankings and nestling in the mossy roots of trees. It has been an especially fine year for primroses, one upside of the soggy days. Around the lower fields, rain or shine, there is a constant drip and drizzle as the water runs out of the fields. The ditches have been dredged and Lyra, on finding them a foot deeper than the last time, has traipsed a field length in the muddy bottom looking for an easy way out. Mum, looking thoughtfully at our canine sapper a few days ago, remarked how curious it was that on drying out Lyra’s draggled black stockings seem to return miraculously to white under their own steam. She paused then, with masterly timing, before pithily continuing that the same was not true of the sofa.
Cautious changes though are afoot in the fields and wild places of the lowlands. The first flickers of yellow from the oilseed will, by our return, be bold squares of intense yellow pumping the air around with a sweet musky smell. Tiny green flowers of gooseberries in the hedge will turn to glass green marbles and the may blossom will succeed the lacy froth of blackthorn. Already, tightly folded coppery shoots of meadow sweet are pushing aside the softened tops of molehills and scaly ferns are uncoiling beneath the trees. In a week they will be ankle high and reaching up towards the retreating, dappled scraps of blue sky as leaves stretch out to catch the sun and I will marvel at the changes.
Here in Glenelg the timer has been turned back a few weeks so I shall enjoy a time warp of endless spring for a little longer.