You make me feel as though spring has sprung

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‘You make me feel so young

You make me feel as though spring has sprung

And every time I see you grin

I'm such a happy individual’


LYRICS Mack Gordon.



Does the promise of spring get more enchanting with every year?


Unquestionably for gardeners – perhaps more in touch with the seasons than many - the spirit of renewal runs deep. After the melancholy of autumn and the long ‘shut down’ of winter, the youthful re-emergence of nature at this time of year (be it the first crocuses, irises or aconites) lift the spirits, and poignantly contrasts with our own mortality. This plant succession leads into arguably the most potent 6 week gardening period in England; from beginning of May to mid June, with its transformational explosion of growth from the cow parsley-filled verges and hedgerows to the pomp of Chelsea Flower Show.


This early spring, and in no small part a driving force behind my design work, memories of childhood gardening in Yorkshire return. I understand more and more the pleasure my Dad derived from splitting & naturalising his beloved snowdrops and daffodils. Over 37 years in our family home he created an orchard that by the time we left, was a stunning riot of colour.


One could spend a happy hour wandering the mown grass paths, pausing to admire how, say, the primroses had multiplied from the previous year, or how the bluebells [that I had smuggled in against Dad’s wishes] were nestling nicely amongst the pheasant-eye narcissus ….. gardening on the sly!


Dad had always talked in terms of guardianship rather than ownership of all the planting we did there, and on leaving one could look at this orchard of naturalised grasses and bulbs as a great ‘body of work’, mindfully created from a few initial bulbs and multiplied over 37 years without importing any. There is of course also the patience or delayed gratification required to toil with a year to wait before the fruits of one’s labour could be seen…..How useful a lesson is this?


Just as wonderful, although creation of a different kind – large stick required!, are memories of spending time with my brother in our small woodland. Beating the ground awash with wild garlic and taking in its scent, or later cutting pathways through the froth of massed cow parsley, [which we considered a weed at the time, but now is one of my ‘Desert Island Disc’ plants,] creating tunnels for hide and seek. Such was the joy of having a large enough garden to not be too precious about every area…it was here that we spent most of our holidays entertaining ourselves.


That’s it…I’m going to the nursery right now!