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Monday, 31 March 2014

The magnificent month of March

This month it's been hard sometimes to keep remembering that it is only March. Spring seems very early this year and as for the weather - the only time I remember a warm spell in March since moving here nearly 10 years ago was in 2005, when I was painting the chicken and duck sheds wearing shorts! It has been a joy to see many butterflies and bumble bees around and welcome the return of the summer birds. The Chiffchaffs are very noisy but I enjoy hearing them, and in the last few days the Blackcaps have returned and started singing their far more melodic song.

There are few leaves on the trees around here but we have only to drive south towards Rennes which is always more advanced in spring, and it is quite green looking. But we have it all to look forward to and there are already leaves unfurling on one of the Horse Chestnuts and on some of the ornamental Prunus trees, which have been a joy with their blossom. I'm still desperately trying to catch up with the garden but I think it is better this way, than to be ahead and waiting for spring to catch me up! 

Purple Leafed Prunus, which now has more leaves than flowers.

The Forsythias started off looking like they weren't going to be
much of a show but I was proven wrong, thankfully!

The first daffodils are going over but new ones are opening up like this small narcissus.

The weather wasn't always kind, and we had a cool spell with some frosty mornings until a couple of days ago. I captured a few scenes from my 2nd floor shower room, which is the only upstairs window looking out over the back.

Stormy skies moving in....

Ominous sky coming in from the west.
The tree with blossom in the middle is Prunus subhirtella.

But many days we had skies like this:

Damson blossom. Cross fingers for some fruit this year as
last year was rubbish for any kind of plum.

Prunus subhirtella with much larger blooms in the spring than
the small single ones it has during mild winter spells.

Prunus subhirtella again with a silhouette of
my huge old cherry tree in the distance.

I can't remember ever having plum blossom open in March before, but all three of my mature trees are in full bloom!

Greengage blossom.

A zoom through my grubby living room window to the peach blossom in my orchard
and the sheep in the paddock beyond.

In my woodland I have Celandine instead of grass in many places
and it's been flowering for what seems like ages.

And now a few pictures of the ducks, just because I have pictures of them! I missed capturing any of the wild mallards that have been visiting, as they are so wary and see me before I see them. Then they fly practically vertically up and over the trees and off they go. The best way to watch them is through the kitchen window!

The ducks are full of the joys of spring and Dirk is having his wicked way with all of them!

Dirk, my drake Saxony.

Rachel the Rouen.

The other two on the far bank, Doris the Saxony and Freckles the white mixed breed duck.

Freckles is old and needs more time to rest. :-)

Now April is nearly upon us so it's full steam ahead in the veg patch for me as it's ready for planting now.


  1. Replies
    1. Thank you Steve, nice to see you here! :-)

  2. Gorgeous Spring diary Mandy. I think I would be in shorts in your garden - currently favouring lined winter trousers for walking about outside. Looking forward to the next installment, after you've given spade, fork and rake a good doing. :-)

    1. I think you would be in shorts, Nick! Due to be 20C and sunny today but unfortunately I have to go out this afternoon and then rain is coming back later in the week. The digging has been done (not by me!) and I just need to get some trenches in for my spuds now and get my peas in. Sorry you are having cold weather!

  3. Aww, this really feels like you took me by the hand and led me wandering through your "estate" explaining all things to be seen in a kind an gentle way, Mandy! Afterwards we had tea and scones by the fireplace! I most certainly enjoyed my time here, dear!

    1. And we had greengage jam on the scones! Thank you Jan, I am glad you enjoyed the visit! Come again. :-)

    2. Yes, that was soooo delicious! I'll bring a home made chocolate/orange maramalade cake next time ;-)

    3. Oh wow that sounds wonderful, Jan. Could you pm me the recipe please? I'm always on the lookout for new and interesting cake recipes. I'm going to be making a banana cake that I saw on another blog recently. I posted a link to it on facebook which I know you are on - you dark horse! :-)

  4. Fantastic Spring light, I love all the pictures, mon amie!
    Dirk is certainly a very handsome drake :-)

    1. Good morning Marie-Helene and thanks for stopping by! I think Dirk knows it but he is currently very peturbed by all drake mallards which keep visiting and spends his time trying to chase them off!

  5. What a difference now between your garden and mine. We're fortunate to get 10 C these days and I don't think I've seen a blue sky in over a week. Great to see all the blooms in your garden and those celandines look terrific in that light. I've started a little patch of the natives down at the bottom of the garden but have Brazen Hussy named variety closer to the house. Even better to see your ducks. We get mallards flying into our back gardens here - we used to have more of them years ago and if the patio doors were open they were likely to come wandering into the house looking for food as they were so used to the neighbours feeding them.

    1. Ooh I didn't even know there was a named variety of Celandine. I hope it doesn't spread like the native one. My mum hates it with a vengeance because it took over all her flower beds, veg areas and, well, most of her garden at her old house! Luckily mine is just in a wild area. Did you know you can eat the leaves before they start flowering? They don't taste of much though but sometimes I find it fun to make a wild leaf salad once in spring. Though the only wild leaf worth eating (IMO) mixed in with other salad is sorrel.

      You must have a lake nearby Rosie, as I remember you mentioning the mallards. That must be fun so long as they don't stomp about on your plants! :-)

  6. Such an enjoyable visit! Thanks :-)

    1. Thanks Marianne and it's nice of you to comment on so many posts!