"During 2010 I will record the seasons as I take time out to eat my lunch and read inspiring books as I sit on the seat made from Yew branches, overlooking the neighbouring farmland."
I have to confess to failing to keep to the plan since Easter, partly because I've been working hard to fulfill illustration deadlines and partly because there has been a bitingly chill wind blowing. The large part of our garden is within a high brick wall, originally a vegetable garden for an eighteenth century squire with grand designs, we can now appreciate his sensible construction. The sky may be blue, the sun may be shining, but outside the wall in The Wild Wood the wind chills the bones and sitting on the rustic bench (even wearing warm clothes) is not much fun.
Today the wind has dropped a little, during a break in the clouds I nipped out to The Wild Wood to update my record of the journey through the year . . .
The wild 'Cherry Plum' prunus cerasifera, is covered with white blossom. Plums seem to benefit from a period of cold weather before they break the winter dormancy, the coldest winter for more than thirty years has preceded a stunning burst of blossom. Fingers crossed for warmth and sun to bring out the pollinating insects.
The woodland floor is greening up – here is Dog's Mercury mercurialis perennis, in Suffolk it's presence in hedge bottoms and on road verges indicates the sites of ancient woodland. A botanical thread linking The Wild Wood with a wilder past.
But stand a while and listen . . . Spring has come to The Wild Wood in the chorus of birdsong. Listen carefully, some of you may be clever enough to identify the different bird species. About 11 seconds in, see if you can hear the Tawny Owl hoot – unusual to hear at mid-day but maybe he has young to feed?