What caused spring to elbow summer off the top spot? Blame winter. Those long dim months stuck indoors looking out on heavy grey skies, leaving and returning home in darkness, sparked a yearning for lighter, brighter days that spring thankfully provided.
The arrival of this spring is more welcome than ever before. As one newspaper columnist put it, who would want to face coronavirus going into winter?
Spring’s return is a gratefully received certainty when so much else is up in the air. Wandering around my garden, the signs of new life - which let’s be honest often have very little to do with my gardening ability - engage all my senses and give me a much-needed dose of refreshment.
Taking a moment
Snowdrops, daffodils, and primroses have been doing their bit to brighten the dormant garden for a few weeks now, but lately the deep red and creamy white flowers of the camellias have been brilliant at stopping me in my tracks and making me take a moment, a much-needed moment to focus on something that has nothing to do with a microscopic invisible danger.
There’s another flower that I expected would give me a lot of pleasure and although the clocks have just changed, it’s already hitting its stride.
The tall spires of Erysimum Bowles Mauve catch my eye every time I go into the garden and make me pay attention to that moment and nothing else. I have a feeling they’ll be a diverting and reassuring presence for many months to come.
YouTube or garden?
Besides being mentally restorative, the garden is also giving me a physical work out.
Pushing the lawnmower for the first time this season over grass that’s reaching for the stars, digging over a bed full of rampant weeds and pruning unfettered buddleja have proved effective ways of getting virtually every major muscle group moving.
The exercise, fresh air and sunlight is also proving a great aid for a good night’s sleep. Who needs a fitness instructor on YouTube when you have a garden to tame?
Where flowers bloom, so does hope.’Former US First Lady Claudia Alta, AKA “Lady Bird Johnson”
All this work is an investment in the future. Like any investment, returns aren’t 100 per cent guaranteed, especially if like me you are a fledgling gardener.
But I’m fairly optimistic I’ll be eating tasty homegrown French beans, potatoes and salad in the months to come, and I’ll have some beautiful flowers to admire on those long summer evenings when the day’s strivings have ceased.
More importantly, the garden will give me something positive to think about and provide meaningful activities to do that’ll help keep body and soul thriving.
And that for me is the joy of spring, a time of optimism and expectation. Former US First Lady Claudia Alta, AKA “Lady Bird Johnson”, summed it up perfectly: ‘Where flowers bloom, so does hope.’
* Mark Lang, Thrive PR & Communications Manager