The first in a series of four seasonal observations.
There seems to be confusion as to when spring begins online, but traditionally spring has begun on the 21st March, if one follows the astrological calendar. Although I regard that as the beginning of spring, for me, it has always undoubtedly been the appearance of plants that determine spring. The snowdrops, then the crocus both herald spring. Yet the weather can still be inclement and spring does not necessarily mean the end of snow or wintry weather.
In my garden Ranunculus is a favourite harbinger of spring, and yet it can even appear in December in mild weather, but it will not usually produce flowers until April. The Hellebores are also one of my favourite spring flowers, but they have been producing blooms for weeks. When the Anemones and Primulas come out, we really know that spring is here.
Spring is a renewal, a rebirth. Time to throw off the cloak of winter, re-emerge, renewed and full of life. As with plants, the same is true for many of us who hibernate in winter. We can throw off the thicker, heavier clothes and feel refreshed.
Springtime is a time for walks to see nature re-awakening, to enjoy a few blue skies, temperatures rising. Climb the green hills, the meadows, see plants in their natural habitat and dream of summer warmth. For me it is time to consider colour, texture in lichen and more. The tracery of bare branches is still beautiful against blue skies. I am fortunate to live near the Peak District and to enjoy all it has to offer. I am also fortunate to live in one of England's greenest cities, close to all amenities yet within walking distance of fabulous green spaces and just a few miles from the Derbyshire countryside.
I admire the colours of spring, the vivid greens, fresher than at any other time of year. A superb companion to the predominantly yellow of spring flowers. Some of the 'black plants' are also darker at this time of year, triggered by cold, they show their darkest tones.
Spring has traditionally been a time when I visit gardens and flower shows and revel in plants. The earliest garden show I visit and one of the best is the Harrogate Flower Show, which takes place later this month and can easily be combined with a visit to Harlow Carr. Harrogate itself will have displays of vibrant spring bulbs throughout the centre. I usually visit Cornwall and I have included a pic of Barbara Hepworth's old garden, now belonging to the Tate in St. Ives. As well as visiting old favourites, I try to fit in a few new ones every year. On my list at the moment is Lyme Park.
I love spring - it is joy.
Words, work and images copyright Karen Platt 2016