24 March 2013

Close to the Edge

Yes, we're all close to the edge at this stage...

Those of you of a certain age will have caught the cunning wordplay in that opening phrase and may even have followed the link to indulge in some nostalgia. For those who don't know what I'm talking about, do have a listen to at least the first minute-and-a-half or so of the soundfile on that link. 1 min 14sec is when some gorgeous bass comes; after that you're on your own (in Prog Rock heaven or hell depending on your point of view). I really can't last long with the music now but remember being amazed by it when I was a slip of a girl listening to her big brother's album with the ver-r-r-y seventies cool sleeve art.

But I digress.

We're close to the edge, we're at the end of our tether, we're heading for the coldest March in 50 years here, and it's worse just up the road in Northern Ireland, across the sea in Britain and across the ocean in North America. We've had relentless rain and it's now really cold (didn't get above 2C here today).

Minor flooding in our local park

BUT, I'm determined to bring you thoughts of Spring; after all we had the Spring Equinox this week and the daylight wins from here on--not a moment before time.

Okay, few sounds are more spring-like than a blackbird staking its claim from the top of a tree as the light fades on a spring evening. As I wheeled my bike into the garden the other evening, this was the sound that greeted me:

(I cheated a bit with the picture, that's my garden last April. It's looking a lot bleaker at the moment).

Few flowers are more March-like than daffodils and since it's too cold to be in the garden to enjoy them, I brought them in... not only their jolly yellowness but their fresh spring scent came in with them.

Daffs adjust to the warmth of a kitchen window sill

In spite of the temperatures, some plants are just getting on with it: the false spikenard has pushed through; the rhubarb is uncrinkling; the Enkianthus is dotted with green buds, and on the witchhazel the curved buds hold the tree inside a series of furry parentheses. Although in the close-up pic below, the bud seems more, eh, profanely gestural, showing its opinion of the low temperature. Or might that just be me?

Rhubarb braves the elements

Witch hazel parenthesis
Gardeners everywhere are fretting: can't get seeds sown, the soil temperature is too low to plant out seedlings they have started indoors, the air temperatures are too low to enjoy the garden and in Dublin the alpine gardeners in particular are nervous: how will plants be ready for the upcoming show when the season is so behind? Heady with the success of a recent first in a tiny local show, I wonder if anything I have is worth bringing to the main show ... I've no idea, and so have emailed some 'grown-ups' with pictures to check if the plants might be up to scratch or if they're just too shabby. We shall see!

Dwarf conifer, Picea abies; making a show of itself?
I'll leave the weather now, but not before gracing this page with a two-line poem from Michael Longley:

Makes bead curtains of the rain,
Of the mist a paper screen.
Michael Longley
Away from the weather this week, I finished the drawing/sketch of the licheney twig, started back at Saturday morning classes (great to see you all again, and thanks Y for the lovely venue), and tried once again to work on my fear of colour...

A moss- and lichen-covered twig from some woods in Kilkenny
Trying out Muscari colours
Have a good week all.


  1. Wonderful drawing of the twig... worth a tweet pic (is that the technical term) all of its own...

  2. thanks aido :-) see you soon!

  3. One daff sitting snug within the enbrace of a crystal maple leaf (Canadian syrup?) jar. SOT

  4. indeed... the containers in that pic that now hold daffs used to contain maple syrup, a liqueur and olive oil - appropriate for a kitchen window sill! i liked their lovely or quirky shapes so held on to them.