Now we are in the middle of April the days, and most nights, are above freezing – albeit not by much today. There is up to 15cm of snow currently forecast for next Tuesday, but if it arrives it won’t stick around long as the forecast is for somewhat warmer days afterwards.

This morning it was evident that the brown grasses etc after the snow melted are starting to take on some green colour. We already have enjoyed the Snowdrops and plenty of mostly purple Crocuses. The first shoots of Daffodils are poking through in the front and there are drifts of blue Scylla along the mown paths, through what is the otherwise no-mow garden.

Earlier in the day J had spotted the very first sign of Sanguinaria (Bloodroot) tips emerging from the soil at the back of the garden where we have a quite large patch each year under some trees. Later in the afternoon, while aimlessly wandering, my eye was caught by a small white flower nestling among the Scylla. At first glance I took it to be a nibbled white crocus but closer examination – which is to say kneeling down – revealed it to be the first, and quite early, Sangiuinaria flower of 2022 … and, what’s more, a self set some 20 feet from what I assume to be the parent clump. A delightful and cheering discovery.

Also flowering for the first time today are the first Iris reticulata, tiny and perfectly formed unlike the rather blousy Iris that come later in the year. Very fond of those. A few Pushkinia opened their flowers in the last day or so and the very first violets too. Early days, but things are happening.

Four or five days ago we hosted two male and one female Brown-headed Cowbirds which does not augur well for whichever bird’s nests they plan to lay their eggs in. Slightly more recently courtship amongst the Northern Cardinal was observed with a male feeding seeds to a female. This morning, Good Friday, the “Early Cuppa Tea” bird was the first returning Eastern Phoebe while the afternoon tea and sticky bun was accompanied by the first White-throated Sparrow of the year. There are also still just one or two Pine Siskins coming to the feeders still and the Purple Finch males are most certainly colouring up to their name.

Not all is rosy, however. We have also seen the first small leaves of garlic mustard popping up once more under the larch tree. An eradication programme will begin shortly … the trouble with that invasive plant is that the seeds are like dust and remain viable in the soil for years so getting rid of it is just plain hard work.