Posted by Tania Kindersley.
I know that I should be thinking about Libya and the Yes to AV campaign and other matters of import, but in this house the number one, above the fold, full caps headline, front page news is: the horse chestnuts are IN LEAF.
I'm aware I am walking a fine line here. This could be charming and delightful, or it could be ghastly and fey. Also, for those of you with no interest in trees, it could be crashingly dull. But we artists are slaves to the truth, what can I tell you? And the thing that I am thinking of most is those damn horse chestnuts.
I did biology at school. I know how all this thing works. But I feel rather like those ancient cave women must have when they first saw fire. How the hell did that happen? Only a few days ago I was photographing fat, sticky buds. They were a low, earthy colour, a sort of pale nothing. Now, almost overnight, as if a directive went out from the Leaf Secretariat, they have exploded into a green so green that I need a new word for green.
This is old hat for those of you in the south, who have had leaves on the trees for weeks. Up here, there is the slow lag of time; the beeches and the oaks are still quite naked. Even the birches, which you might think would be ahead of the game, are just unfurling their first tentative leaves. But the verdancy (is that even a word?) is suddenly becoming more than a promise. I walk around, marvelling at the twenty different greens.
I don't think I ever loved spring that much. I thought it a season of tweeness: all those blatant daffs and cutesy primroses and the silly old Easter bunny hop hop hopping about. There was a great bluebell wood I remember from my childhood, with, even all these years later, a yearning fall. But spring was not my time. I liked autumn, which is the poets' season, all raging colour and death and woodsmoke. That was a proper season. There was nothing simpering about autumn.
Now I find spring a time of miracles. I gaze at each new growing thing with my mouth open in a cartoonish O. I exclaim out loud. How, how, how, I think, over and over, did that happen?
Quite unbelievable tulip:
Little blue unknown thing growing in the wild garden:
My favourite dwarf euphorbia:
This is not a good photograph; I got the focus all wrong. But it does give you some idea of the greenness of the green:
Shrub whose name I have forgotten, with, ironically, forget-me-nots in the background:
Tulip with hellebore:
These will be irises:
The dear grape hyacinths, still going strong:
I was afraid this tough winter had finished my poor little acer, but look, look, it has survived:
Sun on the geranium leaves:
I liked this so much, I shot it twice:
The ladyships have been basking. There is no other word for it:
The hill in panorama:
You know, I think that this time last year it was snowing.