gatepostgatepostCoxley Valley, 5.30 p.m., 45ºF, 8ºC: At the entrance to the woods this rough hewn stone gatepost stands by the beck next to an ivy-covered alder. Fresh leaves of wild garlic grow behind it, escaping being trampled on a wide and muddy stretch of the path.

There’s a bit of an evening chorus amongst the birds – the wistful robin, the monotonous wood pigeon and the powerful projection of the wren – but when the blackbird starts singing we’re in a different league: melodious, mellow and relaxed.

Spring Planting

trees at the garden centreAt Cannon Hall country park the newly arrived chiff-chaffs are singing.

cherry, Sainsbury's car parkWe’re visiting the garden centre in search of plants for the bed in the front garden. Some of the plants that we’re after, such as salvias, can be tender, so those aren’t yet available. We decide to limit our colour scheme to blue/purple and yellow. We go for a variegated sedge, hebe, pale yellow primulas, miniature pansies and tête-à-tête daffodils. We’ll get the bed prepared, mulch it with chipped bark and plant those and keep adding more plants as they become available.