This spring the locked-down members of the population are all likely to be becoming a bit more like gardeners. Not just because of the time we might have to be at home in whatever our garden is for us, from house plant to small yard to multiple acres. This year everybody is more like a gardener because we are all having ideas and making plans about how to make next spring better while this spring is taking place. See a tulip? That's a positive decision taken last spring by a gardener to make this year better.
The desire each year during spring to create the best spring yet for next year is a gardener's preoccupation, propelling us to have the present day in one field of vision and next year in another eye-view already. Satisfaction in a spring display? Never.
This year, I think our spring display at Ham is the best ever. And at the moment, you are most likely going to have to take my word on that. Why is it the best? I think there are many reasons.
One factor is that for most of us on the team, it's at least our second spring at Ham. As gardeners, we are learners and tend to not make the same mistakes again. We find whole new mistakes to make! A combination of professional experience, technical knowledge and understanding of place has gone in to every decision, probably every choice of bulb. In this instance, sense of place has a number of factors like soil, orientation, light level, weather patterns, garden maintenance schedule, visitors' garden routes and the property's history. Gardeners are analysts too...
Another factor is that the weather has been especially good to spring. A wet autumn and winter with just enough cold means that bulbs and spring flowering plants are fully hydrated, ready to burst and the blossom this year proves it. Late frosts in our corner of SW London have been weak. The warm sunshine through April has sped up flowering - nothing is slow to flower, there are no shy buds.
The biggest reason it's the best spring display ever? We need it and we are noticing the detail. We are looking at the colours, shapes and textures of tulips today and valuing each and every one of them in the present. This seasonal regularity, this reliable beauty is something we crave each day of this spring. The inevitably of flowering is a source of encouragement, even comfort. Trusting on next year's blooms in such uncertainty makes this year's spring the best so far, until next year.
" We are looking at the colours, shapes and textures of tulips today and valuing each and every one of them in the present. This seasonal regularity, this reliable beauty is something we crave each day of this spring."