I admit, I have no idea who Harriet is, but she’s damn right. My soul is revived with the first shaft of sunlight in Spring. But being a gardener, I can’t just stand around enjoying that warm sun on my face for very long, because there jobs to be done. My word are there jobs to be done. I’m not even sure why I’m sat here writing this and not in my potting shed.
It seems we wait around all winter for the days to get longer and the weather to improve, impatiently wringing our hands with the anticipation of it, we’ve planned, we’ve bought the seeds, we’ve decided what to grow where and when and how, and then the next minute it feels as though we’re playing catch up. I see other people getting their potatoes in, and with tomatoes already 6 inches tall, and I want to shout, whoa, slow down. I haven’t even opened my tomato seed packet yet.
Luckily I’ve been gardening long enough now (I reckon around 14 years, 9 of them on the allotment) to know that there’s plenty of time, and starting too early doesn’t always get you ahead. But I can understand the enthusiasm to get busy at this time of year. After a winter of staying indoors staring out of the window, the first glimpse of sunshine is enough to lure you out, even if you still need a hat and scarf.
And it’s deep down in our genes somewhere. All of nature is at its busiest at this time of year. From my garden office I watch the birds flitting around in the garden, the insects emerging from hibernation, and the plants rapidly filling out the borders, and I feel inspired to join them. Maybe non gardeners get busy in other ways at this time of year, I have no idea, I can’t even imagine not being a gardener in Spring, but for me, that urge, that call to nature at this time of year is strong. I only have to see a photo of a garden in a magazine or on social media, and I want to immediately pull my old gardening shoes on and rush out there. Thank heavens we get an extra hour of light in each day from next week, I’m going to need it.
Just remember, at this busy time, to take a moment to smell the first freshly cut grass, listen to the birds chirping, see the blossom up close, feel that bit of warmth on your back (always on your back when you’re bent over the earth), taste that first tiny harvest whatever it may be, and just stop for a minute and enjoy it.