In April 2012 I shall have been writing my blog for five years. Blogging is just built into the fabric of my life now. If I haven't blogged for a few days I begin to feel a bit itchy, not quite guilty but certainly aware that there is something due, a bit like when you know you need to phone a friend and haven't got round to it.
Five years of writing means you can look back. Mostly I look back at the garden and the end of month view posts. But you can also look back at what you were doing and how you were feeling at the same time last year, and the year before and the year before that. I have been looking back today and the pattern is clear as day: in February I get grumpy.
It is the lack of light and warmth I think. It hasn't been a hard winter up here in North Wales so far but it still seems a long time since it was light in the evening and warm enough to sit outside. I have had enough of a sky like a dustbin lid and enough of mud and murk. The garden remains closed down so there is not much scope for distracting myself with seed sowing and cutting taking, although I might have a go at root cuttings, following the excellent advice here in An Artist's Garden. I have a fancy to have a go at echinacea.
So today I have been looking for things to distract myself with, inside and out.
Outside there was the great snowdrop count. I did this last year for the third year in a row. This year's count produced only eighty or so new snowdrops but taught me something I had not known.
All the established snowdrop areas continued to increase.
There were two areas though where I lost snowdrops. Here snowdrops had been planted at the base of the wall to the kitchen garden and much of the area against the wall had been in darkness because we stacked some slates against it. Clearly depriving the bulbs of light as they died down was not a good idea. Someone with more scientific horticultural knowledge than I have might be able to tell me why all the bulbs in this area have failed to show this year. Have they gone for good? I suppose so. I shall split the larger clumps in other areas and hope to fill the gap and take great care not to let it happen again.
I admired hellebores.
I began to feel quite hopeful about the earliest of the daffodils. I even got as far as thinking I might do some gardening outside and went for my gloves and secateurs to start tidying the sedums and the valerian but as I did so the sky darkened, the wind blew cold and hard and the scudding cloud dumped a load of icy rain on my head.
So I came inside. I made cheese scones and ate two of them. I sorted out my gardening books and made a pile of some which had originally come from charity shops so they could go back to the charity shop in order that there might be room for some more on the shelves. I put all my Anna Pavord books side by side, alongside Christopher Lloyd and Beth Chatto and Mirabel Osler and Monty Don and all the books on growing vegetables and stood back to admire how lovely it all looked. I contemplated how very much I needed to sort out paperwork and sewing stuff and garden records going back to houses I no longer live in. With determination and resolution, I retired downstairs for another cheese scone.
Off to the pub in a little while. This seems to be how to beat the February blues: snowdrops, hellebores, cheese scones, a little light sorting out, the pub or a glass of wine. What works for you?