You cannot put a Fire out—
A Thing that can ignite
Can go, itself, without a Fan—
Upon the slowest Night—
The unseasonably mild weather has continued into this week. All around the garden, among the ashes of winter, we come across small embers from last year. We thought the fire had gone out but then our eye notices the faintest wisp of smoke, a flicker of light and if we are to watch patiently, we might just witness something tiny catching fire. And soon, as we move from February to March the light and warmth will slowly spread out to each and every corner.
It is Six on Saturday again the brilliant meme hosted by the inspirational propagator blog. This week, six signs of kindling catching alight in the garden…
1. The tinderbox
I showed this picture to my daughter and asked her what she thought it was. She thought it might have been a hibernating animal or “maybe a baby trolls bottom?” It is of course the otherworldly appearance of an emerging pulsatilla, the pasque flower. Last year it flowered beautifully for a whole day and then a pheasant appeared and ate it right down to the stalk. Apparently they are something of a delicacy for pheasants. I am hoping it might last just a little longer this year.
2. The lightning rod
This hamamelis Jelena has a coppery orange glow to it in the early morning sun. There are little sparks of winter aconite flickering at its feet as the snowdrops slowly melt away.
3. The hearth
This stone planter is filled with crocus orange monarch. A lovely orangey-yellow flower with flecks of black that resemble glowing coals. Despite my fondness for crocuses, there is something slightly futile for me about growing them. They open up after I leave for work and close before I get home but they are a little gift for our early pollinators in between.
4. The freshly struck match
My favourite primula is this little gold lace form. Delicate yellow flowers, dark red edges and a golden lining. I picked up a single plant years ago and now have dozens in little pots. At this time of year I bring them up to the window like little candles in the dark.
5. The engine room
It was time to clean out the greenhouse this week before the seed sowing starts in earnest. As time goes by I have become less fastidious abut this and now think of it as more of a ceremonial event. To sweep out the dust, wash down the windows and clean out the seed trays. As I was bent under the staging I was taken by the light shining through the vents in the glass. The greenhouse is the great capacitor, the generator and the transducer of the garden. It takes in the energy from a burning star millions of miles away and transforms this into new life with just the merest assistance from a gardeners hand.
6. The glow…
It is unstoppable now. The fire has caught and it is no longer ours to control. Its cold still, but if we turn our faces towards it, we can feel the warmth as the flame leaps from branch to branch, from bud to bud, from leaf to leaf….
* The second verse of Dickinsons little verse from 1924 is equally astute…
You cannot fold a Flood—
And put it in a Drawer—
Because the Winds would find it out—
And tell your Cedar Floor—