April 's sunset song

The swallow, bonny birdie, comes sharp twittering o’er the sea,
   And gladly is her carol heard for the sunny days to be;
She shares not with us wintry glooms, but yet, no faithless thing,
   She hunts the summer o’er the earth with wearied little wing.

The Swallow

Thomas Aird (1802 – 1876)

The list of gardening tasks grow daily and it seems as if I may never catch up. The past few days have been perfect gardening weather and every opportunity has been spent in the garden (hence the lack of posts!) In the bright sunshine the hedges have turned green with new foliage, seemingly overnight. Bright red, flowering currant is filled with bees and hoverflies, as the bumble bees traverse the garden. Speckled thrush sifts the leaf litter searching for slugs and snails, there is also evidence of the hedgehogs nightly visit. Goldfinches flit across the garden and sing overhead as the wren scolds Oscar and I when we inadvertently stray too near her nest. Greenfinch and chaffinch chase across the garden while the dunnocks and house-sparrows scrap in the hedges. The garden is alive with birds and song…

New foliage bursts under azure skies and the beaming suns warmth, in vibrant greens and reds. Small butterflies, emerging from winter hibernation alight gently, warming their wings in new-found heat. Overhead a new sound “cree, cree” two large birds circle in the sky above, a pair of eagles or buzzards ride the thermals. Robins sing and the tits twitter, darting across the garden from tree to tree, examining the lichen, searching the crevices for small insects, while the great tits flit around the beech hedge. Birds are busy everywhere as Mr Pheasant struts along the drive undeterred by sheep or cattle…

The blue periwinkle (Vinca major) has flowered throughout the winter but now sends out slender new shoots to root where they will and new flowers vibrant in the setting sun. My Christmas present of hellebores are still flowering, filling the garden with brightness from winter through spring until the spring bulbs and summer flowers supplant them.

Daffodils still flower and yet the season seems so brief but maybe it’s just that there are other flowers to delight, while the snowdrops flowered alone. Cowslips (Primula veris), Primrose (Primula vulgaris) and the Cowrose or Primslip, that I forgot to remove last year, looks stunning in another part of the garden! Catching up with weeding, I have no idea what I did last year but this seasons growth suggests ‘not much!’ 😀

Flossy and Esme AKA the “Gardening Girls” assist me as I weed, helpfully standing on the hand-tools and snatching weeds from my gloves, or carefully removing seeds from my clothing. While I am on my knees, Flossy eyes my hair and more worryingly my glasses the ‘look‘ seems to deter her. Esme has been feeling poorly for the past week and stays close to her human, waiting for a juicy worm or grub to be unearthed, unfortunately Flossy gets in on the act too but wanders off and Esme settles down to sleep in my shadow as the day grows warmer. The beech trees will unfurl soon in glorious green, earlier than last spring, I search the sky as I’m sure I hear that familiar cry … And suddenly a swoop and cheerful shriek as his shadow falls upon the garden – a swallow returns! Circling the garden, skimming the beeches and pines; deftly turns and sweeps into the shed. Later, searching for the TV aerial to alight upon he is momentarily disappointed, perching on the chimney pot before skimming the garden, announcing his return to the chickens. The following day his partner arrives with much twittering and chatter.

April sunset

Slowly the sun sets, gradually sinking behind the south-end of the island, azure blue sky fading to grey, umber, purple and blues. Blackbird settles in topmost branch of the Alder tree, throws back his head and sings a long, slow goodnight until night softly descends, wrapping the garden in darkness, even as the waxing silver moon rises above the stirring pines. In the twilight two bats dance, plunge into the shadows, emerging into the last embers of light against the backdrop of the purple sea. We sit in the gloaming as the last light slips away, the first stars emerge and all is still except the wind rustling the dry leaves and noisy voles scuttle amongst the leaf litter…

Thanks for stopping by today

 

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