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An April that feels like May

April 17, 2011

Lucky us, we are having yet another weekend of warm sunshine. I am in slight shock about this warm spring, as last April felt like the end of the long cold winter rather than the herald of summer. Many of the trees and flowers are at least a fortnight ahead of where they were a year ago. I know this for sure as, of course, I can check back over dated photos that I took with Dancing Beastie in mind! The geans are already blossoming, which is the real surprise, as they are May-trees to me: I’ll show you on Tuesday. Here are some other sights that we are enjoying this week, earlier than usual.

The daffodils are glorious at the moment, and in amongst them are these little white wood anemones.

wood anemones

Wood anemones have a short flowering season but, while they last, they are scattered profusely across the grass and under the trees, starring the shade with their bright faces.

wood anemones and daffodils

Another little white wild flower which always appears at the same time as the wood anemones is the wood sorrel. Wood sorrel grows happily in the acidic soil under our conifers. With its violet-veined petals and brilliant green leaves, it is a happy sight every spring. You can eat the young leaves, too: they have a refreshingly sour taste. My younger son loves to forage for them and to nibble a few as we walk through the woods.

wood sorrel

In amongst both, there are the darling little wild violets. Their colour seems impossible to capture on camera, but here is a little clump growing on the rocky base of the castle walls.

wild violets

Less profuse here, but just as charming, is Lady’s Smock. It grows quite tall, and I love to pick one or two to add to vases of daffodils. Lady’s Smock is usually palest lilac: it would certainly be a pretty shade for a dress.

Lady's Smock, also known as Cuckoo Flower

These flowers of early summer are growing alongside spring’s first blooms. Celandines, which first appear with the snowdrops in February, are still blazing away cheerfully under the lime trees.

Celandines at the roots of an old lime tree

Less than a fortnight ago, the snowdrops themselves were still flowering: I took my last photograph of them on the fifth of April!

Last of the snowdrops, April 5th

But the recent warm weather has done for them, and we feel a long way from snowdrop season now. The warmth has brought everything else on apace. Last year, for example, one of our old sycamores was just starting to come into leaf on the 26th of April:

Sycamore, April 26th, 2010

Just compare that with a photo of the same tree taken on Friday:

sycamore, April 15th, 2011

The leaves are fully out,


and there is proper green shade to be found under them.

shady sycamores

The horse chestnuts are almost fully out now too, and even the more sedate old beech and lime trees are feeling spring-like.


lime trees coming into leaf

The grass is that green so intense that you feel it will stick to your clothes like paint if you sit on it, and the water of the lochan is sparkling in the long light evenings.

An English April is wonderful, as I said in my post about York: yet this Scottish one is proving to be most beautiful too.

Compare this with last year in Too many trees and An evening walk.

17 Comments leave one →
  1. April 17, 2011 9:02 pm

    Oh Dancing Beastie, your photos are beautiful! So many signs of spring is a joy to the heart. 🙂

    • dancingbeastie permalink*
      April 17, 2011 10:43 pm

      Glad to share them!

  2. Deb permalink
    April 17, 2011 9:48 pm

    What a beautiful spring you’re having. It’s amazing how one year can be so different from the next. Here in Massachusetts we are still chilly and showery. I hope that your lovely weather is a harbinger of a wonderful summer to come.

    • dancingbeastie permalink*
      April 17, 2011 10:45 pm

      It’s useful having notes and photos from last year so that I can compare. I think I may be a bit of a Victorian amateur naturalist at heart! Let’s hope for a good summer for us all…

  3. April 17, 2011 10:37 pm

    Yes, it is indeed lovely to have such beautiful weather, we’re appreciating it here too.

    • dancingbeastie permalink*
      April 17, 2011 10:46 pm

      Hardly dare say this, but (whispers) long may it last!

  4. April 17, 2011 10:40 pm

    There’s something about little white flowers; I’ve loved my little Crocus over the past few weeks but it’s now staying asleep with the cold, frosty mornings ahead. Beautiful pics, DB, particularly love the last, of the lochan.

    • dancingbeastie permalink*
      April 17, 2011 10:48 pm

      Thank you. Yes, the little white wood anemones and wood sorrel are great favourites of mine too. They make the woodland floor look like a mille-fleures tapestry at this time of year.

  5. April 18, 2011 3:51 pm

    How lush and green everything is!! Great shots especially that last one…the sparkling water is magnificent!

    • dancingbeastie permalink*
      April 18, 2011 6:34 pm

      Isn’t the green just miraculous. And the water looks so inviting…

  6. Sandy permalink
    April 19, 2011 3:20 pm

    Hello! I’m hoping to persuade you to let me reproduce on of your beautiful images on an interpretation panel I am putting together! Please get in touch if you would be happy to talk about this.
    Many thanks!

  7. April 20, 2011 11:49 pm

    I’m amazed at how far on everything is too! Just got back from a week in NYC (where things are much further behind) and cannot believe how developed all the leaves on the trees are. And today I was on a sun lounger in the garden, crazy.

    • dancingbeastie permalink*
      April 21, 2011 11:29 am

      Isn’t it lovely. I’m all for sun loungers, especially when jet-lagged. Look forward to your photos of NYC!

  8. Borderer permalink
    April 26, 2011 4:01 pm

    I was using a Google search for possible replacement for a Camellia shrub when your blog pages came up. I found your writings almost conversational, which is so refreshing in this era of texting, and delved further back in your postings. Your descriptions really registered with me and your use of photography and your reactions to what you see and experience around you rang so many bells. I found myself intrigued also by the geography you describe and am sure that your home is very close to an estate which I researched recently. The estate was owned by Viscount Dunedin at the turn of the 1900’s and my grandfather, who was head groom, travelled between there, Edinburgh and London, as his duties required. I will say no more as I dont want to breach your privacy. Another area which intrigued me was your use of the descriptive word “susurrus “. The word evoked memories of how, in the early ’70s, we were looking for a name for a house we were building and had struggled until, early one May morning we arrived at the site which was in silence apart from the breeze rustling the new leaves in the adjacent wood and knew immediately that it would be known as “Rustlings”. I am not usually so wordy – though my wife might challenge that! – but felt I had to compliment you on your writings and photos which I hope to continue to enjoy as you deliver them online.

    • dancingbeastie permalink*
      April 26, 2011 6:29 pm

      Thank you so much for your very kind and interesting comments. It is a pleasure to know that I have struck a chord somewhere. You have stirred my curiosity in talking about Lord Dunedin: I’m not aware of any estates in our immediate vicinity having belonged to him, but some of the smaller ones have changed hands a fair bit over the past century so I have a lot to learn. I bet your grandfather would have had some interesting stories to tell about his life!

  9. Borderer permalink
    April 27, 2011 2:19 pm

    If your curiousity is aroused I can tell you a little more about Lord Dunedin but would do that to your own email address if you wish as otherwise some of the details might jeopardise the privacy of your location. Sadly my grandfather died in a carriage related accident before I was born so stories were limited and did help to drive the wish to know more. Our unusual family name also gave rise to the thirst for more historical information, a problem which I’m sure must be well documented in your own case.


  1. At last! | Dancing Beastie

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