Are you a lover of 'greenery'? I think we all are - surely few people are not aware of it in their everyday lives. About three hundred yards from my sitting room window is a fairly youthful Silver Birch tree. It is one of my dearest friends - it tells me whether it is blowing a gale (I am too deaf to hear the wind blowing) or whether there is a gentle breeze - or even when the air is still. Its branches provide the perfect perch for a pair of pigeons at this time of the year. I don't know how long pigeons live but each year there seems to be a couple of 'courting' pigeons and they always cuddle up together on the same branch and are there on and off throughout the day at this time of the year. Also - I now begin to notice that the branches are not altogether the dark, bare branches of winter. I am too far away to see exactly what is going on but I do know, from the experience of previous years, that what I am seeing is the very early suggestion of the leaves about to burst forth - and given two or three warm days (soon I hope)- there will be a distinct green here and there on the tree - and soon small green leaves will appear and it really will be Spring.
I know sometimes trees have to be felled - whether for safety reasons or for making way for build etc., but any indiscriminate felling is really sad. Trees are living creatures, many of them several hundred years old and really the felling needs a lot of serious thought as to how necessary it is.
My front hedge is not quite a tree. Given that my bungalow has been here for around forty years and my hedge is trimmed each year but is still a good six feet tall, apart from being attractive it provides two important things - it is a brilliant wind-break on a road which is East to West and my goodness, when that cruel East wind blows in Winter the hedge is very welcome. In addition it provides perfect nesting sites for two or three house sparrows each year - it is dense and deep enough to be fairly cat-proof.
So when my gardener D came last week and said to me, "What are we going to do about your front hedge?" I didn't know what he meant. Then I went to the door and looked at it. From one end to the other (maybe 10 feet), it appears to be completely dead. The other side (the hedge separates me from my neighbour H) is perfectly green and looks just as it always has done.
I just think it might be the result of a very sharp frost we had about three weeks ago. Last year the late frost struck a lovely Hebe bush in my back garden - it appeared to have been struck dead. We decided to leave it a few weeks to see how it responded and lo and behold within a month tiny buds appeared here and there and by the Autumn it was in fine form again.
So my hedge is being given a second chance. For a couple of months at least we intend to let the Spring sunshine attempt to wake it up again. It, like every other living shrub, bush or tree should not be done away with lightly.
After Winter, when greenery begins to show its head above ground every living plant should be looked at and welcomed. The harbingers of Spring are so welcome. As with every other year since I began blogging - I shall attempt to beat Tom by quoting one of my favourite poems - Houseman's Shropshire Lad:
Loveliest of trees, the cherry now
is hung with bloom along the bough,
and stands about the woodland ride
wearing white for Eastertide.
So let's all welcome the return of greenery into our lives and let's appreciate just how much it does for our wellbeing. See you tomorrow - the first of April.