What clues does he look for? The mood board begins. Warmer days… tick. Sunny days… tick. Bulbs coming into flower… tick. Birds singing their little hearts out to attract mates… tick. The search for clues continues…
Mud on leaves suggesting the gardener has been out working in the borders… tick. It seems gardeners can’t always wait for dry sunny days. On closers inspection some tiny blue flowers on the crown of this damp foliage were spotted this very dull, dark day. Brunnera Jack Frost is producing flowers… tick.
The usual suspects spotted… tick. Hellebores hidden under leaves – the gardener should cut the leaves back so the flowers can soak up any sunshine as well as the rain. Primroses showing first buds… evidence suggests this garden is much further behind many parts of England with primroses fully in flower there already. Snowdrops… tick. Drumstick primulas forming flowers deep inside the leaf clump… tick. Mm… even in the darker corners of the garden Spring is creeping quietly in.
No place to hide… out in the open the bulbs growing through grass try very hard on rainy days to display their heavy wet flowers. However on sunny days they smile all day! Evidence suggests that some sheltered spots are a good idea where the flowers may last longer. Crocus in flower… tick. Hyacinth showing flower bud… tick. Ornamental grasses showing new growth… tick. Drumstick alliums showing grass like foliage… tick.
At the moment, passers-by cannot see all that’s going on down in gravel next to the drive way and in pots by the front door. An odd crocus, like Pickwick, in flower… tick. Crocus pushing their thin leaves through the gravel… tick. Allium Purple Sensation through the gravel at the front door… tick. Allium Christophiii growing up and out of the pot… tick. Allium globemaster in the back rockery… tick. Inspector Spring is coming to the conclusion that ‘Yes’ Spring has reached this garden.
Walking back through the garden gate Inspector Spring has buds on his mind. Yep, furry white magnolia buds spotted… tick. Rose branches budding… tick. It is clear that this gardener needs to look after Madame Alfred Carriere better! Help should be requested. Weeping pear buds on branches… tick. Wisteria buds… tick. Mm… Inspector Spring looks more closely at the Wisteria in the larger photo below.
He has concluded that there are fresh cuts! Ah… this gardener was a little late perhaps in the pruning of this Wisteria usually done by the end of February. Yes, it has been pruned as per usual cut to two sets of buds… tick. Mm… perhaps all isn’t lost for any un-pruned wisterias hanging about gardens.
He is reliably informed that a certain Mr T suggests you can still prune a wisteria as late as April. Better late than not at all perhaps. Inspector Spring also noticed evidence missed by Inspector Winter… the gardener should be informed that pruners are required to cut back dead/dying growth to new fresh buds.
Clematis buds spotted… tick. Mm… perhaps this gardener should identify all varieties and follow the correct pruning techniques for their respective groups. Perhaps a colour coded label system would work for future prunings. Polygala flower buds… tick. Pieris blossom buds… tick. Mm… perhaps the later is not a guide as it appears that this Peiris has looked like this for two months already.
Inspector Spring now considers the birds visiting this garden. Ah… some evidence has already been prepared for him…
Blue tit pairs checking out Nestboxes… tick. Two Nestboxes, two roosters. However, further evidence is required to establish if the daytime pair visiting the camera Nestbox is the same as the pair visiting the Arch Nestbox.
Evidence (many feathers on the floor) also suggests that there have been more than a couple of altercations with prospective tenants in the Camera Nestbox. Perhaps Inspector Spring should put up a Notification of Acceptable Rules of Conduct in the Nestboxes. Or perhaps he could consider issuing ASBO’s (Anti-Social Behaviour Orders) at this time of year! Garden birds fighting over territories and nesting locations… tick.
Inspector Spring needed to arrange a meeting with Inspector Winter this morning. He lodged a complaint after, in Scotland, snow had appeared once again in gardens. Ice on the roads made for a tricky drive too. In reality it could be into April before Inspector Spring stops meeting up with Inspector Winter. Now… back to the clues…
Inspector Spring is informed that flocks of finches have increased in this garden. Greenfinches… tick. Goldfinches back… tick. Siskins back… tick. He sees them all but what an odd sight this was above… a goldfinch impersonating a woodpecker! He is reliably informed that neither the woodpecker or the goldfinch have ever been seen feeding from a peanut feeder before.
Fortunately this garden had only the tiniest of dustings of snow. When the sun came out you’d never have known the snow had briefly visited. Inspector Spring felt his visit was complete now and looking at his mood board he could wholeheartedly conclude that he had enough clues to support Spring moving its way into this garden. He wanted to just sit, watch and listen to it for a little while…
If you listen very carefully you will hear the gentle sound of the goldfinch before one arrives at the feeder. You will hear others in the background. Eventually a bossy greenfinch comes along and the goldfinch looses its perch.
Greenfinches are becoming a little bossy at the feeders as you can see. There are four available feeding ports and the blue tit explores two.
Is this a pair of greenfinches at this feeder? It certainly looks like they don’t want any company anyway!
Inspector Winter has not quite left the garden although I do think he is making friends with Inspector Spring now! Okay… so I guess as I am the gardener tending this garden, as such, I better start getting out there more and doing some hands-on rather than ‘online’ gardening! Oh my, though… this online gardening is such great fun too.
Oh… did I mention I visited another wonderful snowdrop garden last weekend? I think Inspector Spring would approve. Look out for my next posting 🙂
All photos above except the goldfinch were taken in shirls garden on March 2nd 2009. The goldfinch photo was taken today March 4th 2009. The Nestbox footage was taken on February 23rd & 25th 2009. The other videos were taken today.