If ever a month were well named it is March and on this first day of Spring, it is time for a new post.

I began to write the last one on March 8th, unpublished as many of my posts seem to be, where I speculated on how the vagaries of the weather in this latitude change from winter to Summer and all seasons in between  in 24 hours, mostly prompted by a visit to Stonehenge where we were whipped by hail laden winds on one day, only to spend a day in the garden in pleasant spring sun the next. There was a sense of the pent-up energy of Spring in the air that day, and seedlings sown in the cold frame were just emerging.

Two weeks later, March has truly marched on. Not the tentative steps towards warmth and growth of February, each one made and then held back by chills, the promise shown and then hidden away again. No, March is the Roman God of months, relentlessly pursuing the single goal of growth. No longer is there a  feeling of spring pent-up, but of  it being released in the first great outpouring of energy that brings buds and birds nests, butterflies and bees and hosts of golden daffodils and chunky broad bean shoots and trays full of seedlings on every windowsill.

As I type this the sun has just peeped over the garden wall illuminating the daffodils, the sparrows and starlings dragging dead plant matter out of the borders to build their untidy nests under the gutters and the bluetits manicuring the lawn as they pull moss for their duvet of a nest in the birdbox. In the hedge,  the blackbirds attempt their annual exercise in triumph of hope over expectation as they start to construct in leaf and twig, stem and stalk. I always feel most sorry for them, rearing youngsters for cat food as they seem to. It took them 4 attempts last year to produce fledged youngsters. You have to admire their persistence.

The first butterfly I saw this season was a Comma but since I have seen Brimstones and yesterday as I went to collect the line dried washing from the garden, another ecological benefit of air drying the laundry became obvious when I spotted a new and very beautiful Ashy Mining Bee (Andrena cineraria) perched on the top of a sheet, chilly but wrapped well in her fur coat. She is a little early for her favourite fruit tree flowers, but the buds are swelling on the pear and she wont have to wait long. About a cm long, these little bees are peaceful and harmless and fantastic pollinators, and the only black and grey striped bee in the UK.

spring walks on frozen feet

We walked yesterday, just a short walk from the front door, to get some fresh air after a week of stuffiness. It has been so cold here and as I mentioned last time, the ice on the pond has been thick and prolonged, and snow has fallen too.

As we walked, we were treated to a glimpse of a Great Spotted woodpecker, hammering his breakfast hunting song from the top of an oak tree. I have had them in the garden on the feeders in the last week but it is always great to hear their characteristic drumming sound as they drill into wood. A little further we thrilled to the sound of water rushing and tumbling over the stones in the brook. Icicles hung from the banks, but drips of water were falling steadily from them into the headlong stream. A little further, we found clumps of snowdrops freed from their blanket of fallen snow, clean and crisp against the hedge.

In the garden I took these pictures before they vanished. It will be less cold this week-good news for the birds, but the cat who strolled across the pond will have to look out!

There is a painting on the other blog too. Just click here.