This morning I put on my Village Magazine Editor's hat and walked through the village taking photos to cheer up the April issue. The morning mist was just clearing and although it was cold at 10.30am (I could see my breath) I could feel the sun's power. Along the grassy verges were clusters of violets - in fact white violets are more common along the village roadside than purple; I wonder if because they are unusual people have encouraged patches to spread. Where the white and purple grow together there were a few 'milk and water' violets.
Back in our garden the senior under-gardeners and Spice Girls had a jaunty confidence as they surveyed their foot-work along the garden borders.
The greenhouse has had a major spring-clean last weekend and it's all systems go for 'Veg-season 2009'.
I hoped to show you pictures of the inhabitants of the wild-life pond, but my attempts at night-time under-water wildlife photography failed miserably. I wanted to show how amazingly beneficial the pond has been for the local Common Newts - when we moved here ten years ago there was a tiny pond in the garden, one of those preformed plastic ponds in a bright shade of turquoise which I nick-named 'Barbie's swimming-pool'. After a few years we got round to digging a larger shallow pond next to it and lined both ponds with a black pond-liner. The liner extends under the surrounding garden to create an area for pond-edge planting. We moved nine newts from 'Barbie's swimming-pool' into their new 'wild' environment and bought them a Water Forget-me-not as a moving-in present, within a few days we noticed the newts had laid eggs, neatly folding the Forget-me-not leaves over to protect them. Now is the time when newts get amorous, so a trip down to the pond in the dark with a torch is rewarded with seeing them doing their flirtatious underwater dances; I was amazed to count sixteen newts in one corner of the shallow pond - it just shows how a small change to the garden can be beneficial to wildlife.
While failing to snap frisky amphibians, I noticed a movement on the far side of the water - a nocturnal huntress on the prowl . . .