I spent most of the weekend in and around the glasshouse. On Saturday morning I cut five budding daffodils and placed them in a Hackney Wine Vase (beer glass), and from the corner of my eye watched their smiles broaden to beaming grins as we met the spring equinox.
Our early tender friends – tomatoes, peppers, french beans – are germinating well and laying out their leaves with some confidence. The peas have taken everything winter has thrown at them and are coming up snow white flowers. the first salad seedlings – lettuce, beetroot, sorrel, wild rocket – are rooting through their containers into the gravel: time to get out there. Will have them hardening off next week, note to self: sort out hardening bay irrigation. A big push on Tuesday saw us dig and build the first phase of raised beds on the West bank terrace, so we’re just about on schedule.
There is this nervous excitement everywhere, oozing up from the ground. Everything – buds, bulbs, birds, bees and bumbling gardeners – is striking out and taking risks. Butterflies in my stomach are sleepless. Yet the things I normally do to divert myself from becoming too obsessed with growing plants – Stevenage Borough FC, road cycling, relationships – all seem similarly teetering on the terrifying brink between glory and, well, glorious failure.
Once the butterflies can be seen fluttering in abundance about the fields here, they will no longer be in my tummy: the anticipation will be becoming actualised. The plants will be out of the nursery and growing up, or at least surviving, in the school of soil life, Mother Earth willing; and everything else in the garden, and in life, will unfold in its own sweet way: it’d be greedy to ask for much more than that.