The Change In Spring

Wednesday 13th June 2018

Everything seems to be behaving in an unusual and erratic manner this spring.
Unsettled might be a better word. For myself I believe it could be this strange weather.
I look around me and see plants flowering out of season, or flowering together when they don’t usually meet.
Clematis love to cling to other species, taking support from the sturdy rose is one of its’ favorites.
This year I found the beautiful dark purple clematis with velvet petals, snuggled up to the delicate white stars of the Jasmine.



Most afternoons the dark clouds pile up over the hills, bringing storms that are more tropical in nature, with sheets of heavy water that crush any new growth.
Last year was the hottest and driest summer in 30 years, all the hills around us turned brown.
The earth here is shallow as the base is rock, meaning that even trees like the oak are small and stunted, they cannot manage without water.
Then came an even more detrimental winter with endless rain and sudden deep drops in temperature way below zero.
The climbing Hydrangea in my courtyard is behaving as if it is autumn and its’ new green leaves are turning yellow and dropping without a hint of a flower.



Sitting by the open door leading onto the garden I turned to see my youngest granddaughter, just 5, stroking a bird quite calmly sitting on the back of a chair.
Impossible! And yet.  It was a large fledgling having not shed all its down yet, perhaps a Coo Coo fallen out of the nest.
He could only fly a few feet, and there a little girl was comforting him.



During my daily walk in the woods near by, I came across a puddle with, what looked like worms in it.
Looking closer I notice that they were slimmer than worms and longer with a triangular shaped head.
Probably baby Vipers; they are far more poisonous than their parents, so I was glad the dogs took no notice.
I have always been fascinated and repulsed by snakes.  Their colour and patterns can be quite brilliant.
However I feel they would not be appreciated in my designs on fabric and wallpaper. I suppose a hint could be acceptable, I feel tempted.
Sometimes I paint a bird on the cornice of a door, or in the case of a house with children in it a mouse running along the skirting board.
Or just sitting by a hole cleaning its’ whiskers.  When discovered there are squeals of delight.



Later in the day walking down the steps to the lower level of the garden where the overflow of water gathers, there are 2 willow trees.
I noticed that this year they are not weeping so elegantly and instead have sprouted unruly topknots; rather like the spikey jelled fashion the young are wearing.
Many of the trees and bushes have not survived the winter, as never before, but some to the contrary, have flourished.
The Linden is a mass of flower with their strong scent, here again there is an oddity, it is completely infested with flying red ants.
I hide a key under its bows in a pot and I had difficulty reaching it.
Last autumn we had another infestation, in the house this time, of Ladybirds, much nicer but they did not “fly away home”, they had to be ushered out!



Walking on down the garden there is an area where the Oleander used to be.
The Oleander is a super resistant shrub and flowers all summer. It even thrives down the centre of the motorway, covered in dust and exhaust.
For it to die in the winter is unheard of. I walk pass the barren stubs cut right back.
To my joy I see signs of new life, here and there are tiny shoots of green beginning to push through. New life! I was full of hope.



Walking on I notice the Olive trees, some of mine are really old and look like something out of the Lord of the Rings, more for decoration than for their oil.
Low and behold they are flowering, this I have never seen before, slightly yellowish white flowers bloom profusely.
I had to laugh and the dogs wagged their tails. I passed under the rose arches on my way back. Their scent is exquisite. The rose never lets you down.
This one is a deep dark red call Papa Meilland, I found it in a rose nursery just outside Florence called Barni.
Another climbing rose, that is holding the fort is the Mermaid, it flowers from April until October and sometimes beyond.
With light yellow petals with deep yellow centres. It flowered late this year but is fighting back too.
Taking into consideration what I see around me, and with no bias at all, it seems to me that the our climate is indeed changing.
Whether from pollution, or because of cycles.  Meaning that we will have to change too.
Plant different plants, move to a different rhythm, and change our habits.  A challenge that could be exciting.
We had a storm last night that was seriously powerful; the hailstones were as big as dice.
Perhaps someone, or thing, is reminding us that life is always a gamble.