In our old ‘normal’ lives we’re all so busy that we rarely get the chance to smell the roses – or go for daily walks – or look up at the buildings around us – or spot the changing seasons – or even hear the Spring birdsong. But this year we have had all these bonuses – certainly something to celebrate!
Colour and fragrance
Choosing colours for your home or selecting fragrance you like are familiar creative choices – how fabulous it is that in the garden that you can combine the two! And even better that you can schedule the colouring in and developing fragrance of your garden to run through most of the year. Roses are a wonderful spring through to autumn choice – choose well and you can have amazing colour and scent right through the centre of the year.
With National Trust gardens opening again (get booking online quickly - new slots are released each Friday and disappear fast) you can have fun visiting and choosing through the season. Famous rose gardens to choose from include Mottisfont in Hampshire, Dunham Massey in Cheshire and Compton Castle in Devon. See the whole list and book now on the National Trust website.
Colour and context
Locations and positioning can make colour and plant choices still more special. Spotted on daily walks these last twelve weeks: the candles on a giant horse chestnut tree are so perfect juxtaposed with Salisbury cathedral’s soaring spire; clematis montana back in early April, perfect ephemeral pale pink blooms against solid, dependable Victorian brick red; subtlest pale blue Californian Lilac ceanothus softening granite and flint in May ;rampant rambling cluster roses framing a ‘secret garden’ gate in June.
Forget those old-life long journey games, counting car colours, lorries and transporters – we’re all into our nature walk challenges. How many bees can you spot today?
Fab bee drawing sent to us from one of our happy doodlers
Who will be lucky enough to spot the water vole today? How many types of butterfly can you see between the gate and the bridge? So much to see and learn – and fun to colour in and make notes about when you get home, too.
colour & learn butterfly placemat to go - great for putting nature knowledge in to practice. Find out more about the wonderful butterflies of the world here.
The birds have loved the lack of hurly burly, it seems – birdsong has been louder and more joyful, nests and chirping babies more prolific…or so it seems. Perhaps it’s just our perception, but it’s been so enjoyable. Even those shielded at home have been able to enjoy this – my 95-year-old mother was entranced by watching a robin try to teach its unwilling offspring to grab a worm – redolent of all our homeschooling challenges! The RSPB have made it easy to identify your fave birds from their song: listen here or download the brilliant Warblr app to your phone that automatically identifies the bird you’re hearing.
Louise Welsby and her daughter Georgie, along with artist friend Meg Hawkins went a step further during lockdown and have created a beautiful and informative children's book that’s a paean to the birds around us.
Look and Listen children's book, £7.99. Available to purchase here.
Out on the remote island of Auskerry in Orkney the nesting season (and natural social distancing) continues as normal! Birds nesting include Puffins, Guillemots, Shags and these Black Backed Gulls (which are just two days old).