First day of Spring

Like a freshly fallen field of snow

Clearly not snow, whether freshly fallen or not, and obviously not a field, but these words come to mind every year when the blossom from the plum trees fall, which they do quite readily (but fortunately not in huge quantities after the frost the night before last). I have tried unsuccessfully to source the ‘quote’, but I did come across the seemingly anonymous ‘Your life lies before you like fallen snow. Be careful where you step, for every step will show’, which is a pretty good observation and one I have not heard before! Back to the plums, we have an ageing Victoria plum, but most of this blossom is from what is either some form of wild plum or possibly a Mirabelle plum planted by the last owner (who seemed to enjoy planting unusual things in unusual places in the garden). The plums are small and round, dark red, and seem to ripen over a long period; there was a steady crop throughout the summer and early autumn last year.

Today I have also noted the first fritillary (Fritillaria meleagris – the snakeshead fritillary) in flower. The shoots emerge through the undergrowth like wisps of grass and even the fully developed foliage looks almost anorexic. This fist bud is pink – I have tried to establish the white variety but I suspect they are not as hardy. These pink ones will seed quite prolifically as they become more established. I also found buds on some of the wood anemones (Anemone nemerosa); again these sneak into view and are ready to flower whilst they are still barely noticeable. They were first planted in the autumn of 2000 – the rhizomes were like tiny broken twigs but have gradually established themselves and our small woodland (also planted in 2000) will soon be a partial carpet of soft white blossom. I recall the first time (probably not long befeore we planted ours) I saw wood anemones in the wild, in a nature reserve on the island of Seil, near Oban – also  my first spotting of a cuckoo.

Plum blossom

Snakeshead fritillary (Fritillaria meleagris)

Wood anenome (Anemone nemerosa)

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