I love March, it's one of my favourite months of the year, there's so much anticipation in the garden and as the level of light is rising life is responding to it. Bright and cheery daffodils shine out from borders, dainty little violets and primroses nestle into grassy banks and under trees where the first of the year's new fern leaves are preparing to unfurl are the glamorous flowers of hellebores.
There are so many exciting cultivars of Hellebore, cups of pristine white, frilly pale pink, deep and dusky shades of sultry purple, some are spotted and streaked and others the most delicate picotees, the edges of their petals washed with the lightest brush stroke of colour.
Where happily established they will promiscuously interbreed, their progeny adding yet more variety year after year.
One sunny days the first of the season's bees will be busily bumbling about foraging for food from early dandelions spangling the lawn underfoot and higher up from pussy willow catkins, gleaming silver against a blue sky and later in the month fat and golden with pollen. The first of the Prunus, the cherry family, are coming into flower, sloe are usually the first with plum following close behind. With flowers much smaller than the deservedly popular Japanese cherries sloe flowers form a haze of white so that the whole tree looks like a cloud, a lot like hawthorn from a distance but easy to differentiate, sloe flower on dark bare and leafless branches, hawthorn flower after the leaves have emerged.
In the pond the frogs are back, mild damp nights have them croaking noisily and the mornings bring shining blobs of black dotted jelly, usually in the shallows where the water will warm up more quickly in the sun and encourage algae to form, we're not so keen to see it but for growing tadpoles it will be a feast. As the birds turn up the volume the resident robin's beautiful melody warns others to keep away, this is his patch, while more sociable sparrows chatter in the hedge and the blackbirds sing out from their lookouts higher up in the trees.
This is a month to savour in the garden, despite the chill there's so much to enjoy, whatever the weather throws at us now spring has sprung, lets get out there and be part of the action.