Slow allotment gardening in the life of a busy family
Tuesday, 5 April 2011
Looking into the heart of Spring
Two weeks early, my magnolia stellata is in bloom. Soft, velvet-covered buds one day, and then a froth of white, all of a sudden. My unscientific, highly personal yardstick for its early or late blooming is 'Turin time'. In 2006 we were in Turin from the 11th to the 18th of April. The magnolia was just coming into flower when we left, and when we returned it was over. Turin was worth missing its flowering for, but still, I remember the pang of disappointment at arriving home and realising that it would be another year before I would see my own tree in bloom. (And Turin has been much on my mind recently as I plan another, static blog about that experience. Coming shortly, probably to Wordpress.) The essence of Spring in Scotland is a counterpoint of blossom with echoes of Winter. This is the north, after all. Sunlit blooms against a background of slate-dark sky would be what I would long for if I were ever exiled to the South. And how can this be? Plum blossom, which my mental calendar places firmly in late April. Admittedly my little tree is planted against a high south-facing wall. It's an espalier that got away, going its own sweet way despite my attempts at pruning and training. I am counting the plums we might have this year. Last year we achieved three, and I am praying the gardener's prayer that frost won't smite the fragile blossom even in this precocious Spring.