A few days ago we were greeted at breakfast by a small crowd of day old goslings being hearded across the lawn by their proud parents. This year there are six of them and we know they will spend the next 10 weeks with us and grow into beautiful Canada geese and then fly away to the larger flock.
This week there has been a major effort to tackle our trees.I employed two different teams of arborists to do the major cutting and bole grinding while I did the tidying up around the edges. It was great to watch these young but experienced men climb the trees and cut them down. They also chipped what they had cut so I was left with a big pile of chips that I used to cover the path in the woods - a yellow-chip road! So where there used to be half fallen trees there are now neat stacks of logs.
Spring is a process. The first signs begin way back in February, they gather pace in March and by mid April its in full swing. A few days of warm( 25C) sunny weather has encouraged the leaves to unfold on many trees, cheery and apple blossom is everywhere, as are foregetmenots and bluebells. The lilly's are beginning to emerge from the bottom of the pond and the fish are rising. I even saw the large carp at the surface today. The weeping willows are now full of leaf and the pussy willow is full of seeds. There is also much happening in the woods. There is a rich carpet of ground cover including wild garlic and bluebells and even the ash are beginning to take on a tinge of green. Here are just a few of the more advanced signs of spring.
I have now tided up the edge of the west side of the lake and I am pleased with the results. I have planted several clumps of 'copper grass' where there were barren areas in the grasses and sedges. I planted several ferns near the big old fern donated by my son by the weeping willow.
I decided I would cut the grass in the paddock. I half did it last year but the brambles have grown so much in the part that I didn't cut that they are in danger of taking over unless I do something fairly radical. So for about 5 or 6 hours under the hot sun I trundled backwards and forwards. Skirting round small bushes which I will take out later. I'm very conscious that I am destroying lots of habitats but in the long term it is better for the health of the field. As I was cutting a large fox came into the field and started perusing the stubble. He looked very healthy and he wasn't a bit bothered by me on the noisy tractor. He seemed curious, cautious and confident and he let me film him.
14 years ago today we began to inhabit this land.. I remember when we first saw our garden and we could not believe that we could own such a space. We have pinched ourselves everyday as we look out of our kitchen window. I know I am a lucky man and I cannot think of a more beautiful place to live on this earth. Over the years I have covered almost every inch on foot or tractor and admired its beauty. I realised a long time ago that I am simply the temporary custodian and that this thing of beauty will be owned by someone else in the not too distant future. So I have toiled to keep this verdant place in check, not just for me and my family, but for the people who will also look after and enjoy this landscape in the future. But there is also a price to pay for the privilege of dwelling in this place and the garden has a wonderful ability to cause pain (back, knees, cuts and lacerations, stings, burns and more). But that it is a small price to pay for the feelings of wellbeing it provides, the moods and thoughts it inspires, and the endless opportunity to admire and celebrate its beauty in the artefacts I make. Sadly, I cannot find any photos from when we first moved in. Perhaps we were too busy to take them. So I will have to make do with two images I processed using 'dreamscope'.
So in honour of my garden I dedicate my attempt to capture it in a painting and two photographic images that I processed using 'dreamscope'. The first is in the style of Monet's water lilies the second in the style of a Hockney woodland painting. Seeing the garden through their eyes of these artists gives me a different perspective.