The consensus amongst my gardening contacts is that spring has taken an age to arrive this year.
The main thrust of bulbous displays has come and gone, the shrubs we’d expect to contribute some colour have performed, but there has been a general lack of warmth leading to a build-up of tender plants under cover.
Such situations demand a walk on the wild side, a chance to compare notes with like-minded friends, and take a break from home soil.
In a circular route from Alnham, we took in the old Salt Road, Shepherd’s Memorial Cairn and Scrainwood, where millions of bluebells illuminated a woodland setting. Curlew, lapwing, skylark and wheatear urged us on as we trudged the moorland tracks and there were bursts of sunlight for good measure.
Gardeners all, we compared the growing conditions faced thus far as we ambled along the way. Robert reported some plant casualties in the Howick area, the result of early May frost. This included ornamentals and potato foliage, even some growing in a poly-tunnel.
Brandon-based Jim, who is always at home in the hills, had also experienced freezing overnight temperatures the previous week.
George complained that his tomato plants were not making much progress and Ron feared his show onions were way behind schedule.
Catharsis over, we marvelled from our lofty viewpoint at the sheets of wet weather way out towards the coast falling on the homes we’d left behind.