Andy Hirst: Planning a summer holiday

THERE’S A lot of twitterpation going on in our garden at the moment.

THERE’S A lot of twitterpation going on in our garden at the moment.

It might still be frosty at night, but the birds think it’s spring, and the frogs have arrived to make merry in the pond.

Actually, this year the frogs are slightly later than usual. Warm winters in the Noughties lured them into a false sense of security and we saw them arrive for spawning as early as January. But the harsh winters of the last three years seem to have re-set their biological clocks.

Secondborn thinks the frogs are “gross”, probably as a result of the time she helped to remove 150 of them from the pond while we cleaned it out and re-lined it. This fun day in the garden has clearly lived long in her memory.

But we quite like our migrating froggies because they remind us that new life is just around the corner. Soon it will be time to erect my plastic greenhouse and start potting up seeds for the allotment.

We might have been ‘plotting’ for the past 15 years but I still get excited at the prospect of sampling new crops. Last year I tried baby sweetcorn and had visions of being self-sufficient for stir-fry purposes. The reality was a crop of about 20 tiny heads, which took all summer to grow and couldn’t be picked until October. The plants were huge and occupied much more space than they deserved.

But I am ever hopeful. This year’s experimental crop will be celeriac, which I have already sewn in a seed tray and is being kept warm in the dining room. Jamie Oliver says it’s great in salads or made into heartening soups. We shall see.

I have also bought some oriental purple radish seeds and two blueberry bushes, which look exactly like dead sticks, although the picture on the boxes showed lush, heavily-cropping plants. I have high expectations.

And that is really what spring is all about, isn’t it. High expectations and optimism.

It’s a chance to do everything all over again with a fresh start; a time of year when the glass is definitely half full.

 

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