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Spring forward

April 12, 2016

During my lengthy silence here, the seasons have moved on at last. Spring is indubitably springing.


In the fields, the new grass is grown enough for the cows to have been put out to pasture a few days ago. Every morning now we spy another calf, born in the quiet of the night. The swans are building a  nest on the lochan; the oyster-catchers are digging scrapes in the garden urns to lay their eggs. And I have been busy in the garden, clearing and digging, planning and planting. For the first time since we took over Castle Beastie thirteen years ago – for the first time in my life – I find myself the head gardener. Quite a thought if you are as ignorant of gardening as me. Still, that surely means that I will learn by doing – the mistakes as well as the (I hope) successes.

We are still immersed in the school holidays, but my intention is to write here from time to time with reports from the front line of horticultural ignorance. It must be the sap rising that has made me want to return to blogging, if only occasionally, and with the usual haphazard subject matter apart from the garden. So with that gloriously British piece of enthusiasm said – onwards! And may the joys of spring be yours.


I really don’t know anything about gardening, as you can see in My Hysteria grandiflora is coming along nicely. The birds have got the idea, though: see A des. res. for oyster-catchers.

21 Comments leave one →
  1. boyd hussey permalink
    April 12, 2016 3:42 am

    SNOWFLAKES KEEP FALLING ON MY HEAD…….. no definitive sign of spring yet

    • April 12, 2016 11:33 pm

      Oh Lord! We still have snow on the hills, but haven’t had any here for a month now. Don’t despair, I’m sure that Spring is creeping its way towards you there…!

  2. hmunro permalink
    April 12, 2016 6:52 pm

    Oh, joy! Oh joy, oh joy … you’ve simply made my day with this wee post. I can only imagine how beautiful (dare I say magical?) it must be to find a new calf every morning. And those daffodils! Couldn’t help but think of Luke 12:27 — “Consider the lilies … Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.” Indeed. Thank you for this lovely, optimistic post.

    PS: I very much look forward to more of your posts from “the front lines of agricultural ignorance,” DB! Perhaps by following your adventures I’ll finally learn which end of the bulb points downwards. *Snicker.*

    • April 12, 2016 11:35 pm

      Aww, thanks, Heather. Your quote is strangely apt, as those daffodils are not in our garden but right beside our church!

      Re. bulbs: you mean there’s a right way up?? So that’s what I’ve been doing wrong….! 😉

      • hmunro permalink
        April 13, 2016 7:09 pm

        Ha ha, DB! Yes, I’ve been told bulbs have a “bottom” and a “top.” (Wouldn’t it be grand if nature provided us with an arrow that signaled “this way up”?)

  3. April 12, 2016 9:01 pm

    How wonderful to have such a large canvas to work with. Looking forward to seeing the updates. I’ll be taking on a larger garden in due course (tho tiny by your scale) and am already feeling some nerves. i’m looking to you for reassurance!

    • April 12, 2016 11:50 pm

      And I to you, Linda! I’m sure you have forgotten more about gardening than I’ll ever learn!

  4. Toffeeapple permalink
    April 13, 2016 9:24 am

    Good luck with the gardening, it won’t take you long to find out how to do it especially if you see what Monty Don and Bib Flowerdew recommend. Pippa Greenwood is also very good. Most of all, try to enjoy having your fingers in the earth and the sun on your back.

    • April 13, 2016 12:28 pm

      Thank you. I have at least heard of these people….and I am really enjoying myself so far!

  5. Toffeeapple permalink
    April 13, 2016 9:25 am

    Bob Flowerdew, not Bib!

  6. Erika W. permalink
    April 13, 2016 9:36 am

    Dear Beastie,

    how lovely to check in–as I do at least every month or so , to find an entry. Your now and then comments are more exciting than so many bloggers who drivel on and on.

    I hope that with the Spring your body and mind are coming together for another good year.

    Bets wishes to you, your husband and your sons, Erika W.

    • April 13, 2016 12:30 pm

      Thank you, Erika, that’s so kind of you. May this new season be a good one for you, too.

  7. April 13, 2016 10:09 pm

    You’ll end up a super landscape artist – you have a trained eye – just think of plants as paint or fashion embellishments – accents – an abstract painting – a living woven piece – members of a family portrait
    Besides plants you can pick up and move if they seem to hate a spot…easier than kids that refuse to stay still for the camera.
    I always found looking at established public areas – and elderly gardener’s home/garden give some ideas – Of course you may have journals about the castle’s gardens in the past to use as a guide?
    Erika W is right – a few posts sprinkled through the year’s seasons are just fine

  8. April 14, 2016 10:58 pm

    How exciting to launch into the garden! There will be bits to maintain as they are, and bits to play with and make your own. Good luck, and do, keep us posted.

  9. christinelaennec permalink
    April 18, 2016 6:49 pm

    Lovely to see a post from you, and I am excited to follow your horticultural endeavours. I have learned a great deal over the years about gardening from the efforts of those who had gardened a particular piece of land in the past before I came along. I also find Gardener’s World very helpful. Sending you good wishes!

  10. April 25, 2016 5:57 pm

    One of the great joys of gardening is the learning! I find that in my 45 years (and counting) of gardening, I am ALWAYS learning. Every season brings new experience and every year brings both success and failure – what better way to learn! Many blessings to you and yours!

    • April 27, 2016 7:24 pm

      That is so encouraging! As long as we keep learning, we keep living. Thank you for your kind wishes!

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