Oh what a difference a month makes. Back in the UK, after inspiring green travels far afield, a walkabout in the garden reveals it has been blooming busy in my absence.
On first inspection, yellow predominates. The last of the daffodils are waving their nearly spent trumpets, clumps of wild primrose (Primula vulgaris) are holding their faces aloft with gentle but confident beauty, and the Forsythia is full to bursting with sunny floral joy.
Alice may be celebrating 150 years since her extraordinary adventures, but I wouldn’t swap her wonderland for mine …
Then there is the ever-consistent hellebore. It is the plant that keeps on giving: from the first splash of colour in an otherwise grey canvas in February to the heavily nodding blooms that continue to vie for attention in the crowded borders around my pond today.
And it’s not just the flora making me smile. Before we went away, we knew that a pair of robins were making a home in a nest box nestled in the ivy opposite our kitchen window (see Watch the birdie). On our return, it was clear from the non-stop industry of the adults that incubation was over as they were already feeding their offspring.
So we’ve been keeping our eyes out for signs of the youngsters, and they have obliged in spectacular fashion, with 3 faces regularly peeping out of their increasingly cramped abode. Most broods tend to have a dominant sibling, and ours is no exception.
So what better name than ‘Alice’ as she becomes ‘curiouser and curiouser!’ about the wonderland that awaits her. In fact, her curiosity has almost resulted in fledging a little ahead of schedule.
It doesn’t look like it will be long before Alice and her slightly less inquisitive siblings fledge, and as they will be unable to fly for a couple of days I shall have to go on cat alert.
So, now that I’ve got all the holiday washing out the way and we’re getting back into a regular routine, the hard work really starts. There’s lots of sowing and sorting to be done, but I can think of worse chores!