In the spring a middle-aged man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of how much bloody work there is to be done in the garden, as Tennyson so nearly wrote. OK, I know it’s not spring yet, officially — not until we’re at the equinox, whatever the Met Office argues. But the Hill Bakery garden is showing definite signs of the coming season: the daffs are up, the camellias and clematis are covered in buds, the forsythia’s getting ready to unleash a storm of yellow flowers, there are hyacinths and hellebores and, still, a few snowdrops.
There’s also, everywhere, rather damning evidence that the gardener failed to get his act together last autumn to tidy things up before the winter. Down at the veggie-patch end, the weeds have had a good few months to get well established. There are dead leaves and general detritus covering all of the beds. And the fence that blew down during last month’s storms still hasn’t had the wires that support the apple trees reattached.
The gardener’s excuse, of course, is that there’s been far too much work to be done elsewhere for him to concentrate on the garden. Not least with the printing — and right now a decision has to be made on a suitable poem to welcome in the spring. The thinking is that it will be “The Word” by Edward Thomas, following on from last month’s poem by Thomas’s great friend, Robert Frost. The choice of fount, as ever, is a matter of conjecture, debate, uncertainty and, finally, guesswork. In this particular case, though, there’s quite an interesting story to tell — but that will have to wait for now. You can expect the result of the printer’s deliberations along with your bread some time in the next couple of weeks. And by that time, it really will be spring.