March in the Gardens: Hens are Hanging On and Pheasants are Revolting
Our cover-girl for March is 'Hanging On', so named by Jude and Flora after mum Jo rescued the poor little hen and her friend 'Tough Guy' from the hell of a battery farm. The new arrivals are beginning to gain the confidence to explore Jo's lovely garden, but need the protection of woolly tank tops whilst their feathers grow.
Jo's existing flock - Penny, Perry, Katie and Lily - have kept our honesty-box going through the lean months and Andrea's beautiful potted primroses, grape hyacinths and euphorbias are now brightening up the stall. Do pop along if you're in the area - we're hoping to add fresh organic carrots to this week's bounty.
Meanwhile, Bruce's daffodils have been a pool of gold in the spring sunshine.
Whilst many shrubs and saplings are in a poor state after last year's extreme weather and the RSPB sadly reports song-bird fledglings were decimated by the drought, other plants and animals seem to have benefited (or at least recovered) during the recent mild wet winter. It's years since I saw so many butterflies this early and lots of peacocks and tortoiseshells have managed to overwinter. It's not a great year for narcissi but the damp-loving violets and periwinkle are putting on a gorgeous display.
Keen vegetable gardener Graham planted his first potatoes on Saturday - always a sign that spring has well and truly sprung, and we're all seeking cunning ways of protecting our pea and bean seedlings from the ravages of pheasants. Well-meaning walkers have taken to feeding these gorgeous but infuriating birds, some of which are now almost the size of turkeys, but it doesn't diminish their appetite - they've even decimated Liz's new lavender path.
Who knows what the gardening year will bring, but we're all so glad it's finally here again!