Month three of my photographer’s nature journal.
What an unexpected start to the month! March began with the sort of weather I never expected to see in Cornwall, especially this far west. The sprinkling of snow we had on 6th February was nothing compared to the several inches that arrived on the frigid winds from Siberia on the last day of February, lingering into early March. Although beautiful to look at, my heart sank at the knowledge that several of my less than hardy plants would not welcome these below zero temperatures.
The winds that accompanied the snow blew drifts several feet high in places. I even saw snow lying in the hedgerow on 9th March when I went for a walk along the lanes to see if anything was growing.
The Lesser Celandines (Ranunculus ficaria) were still opening their golden faces to the sun and daffodils held their heads proudly along the stone wall leading to the dairy. The wild montbretia has suffered though and what was growing and fresh green now slumped in a soggy brown mush in mid-March. And camellias which should have been pink, were now brown. Not the most photogenic subject.
The birds were busy feeding non-stop in the cold weather and I was filling the feeders twice a day. Starlings came to feed on the suet and a pair of collared doves enjoyed the sunflower seeds. I was worried when only one of the doves began visiting as up until then I only ever saw them in a pair. I was relieved when they both returned to my garden on Mother’s Day (11th), a welcome gift. Chaffinches and sparrows still appear to be the most prolific birds here, though blue-tits, great-tits, pied-wagtails, robins and the occasional blackbird, dunnock and little brown wren venture into the garden, I even spotted a goldfinch this month.
On 18th March the wretched snow arrived again! This time it only stayed for a day, but again the below freezing temperatures managed to finish off what had gingerly recovered from the first blast.
The country lanes showed little sign of spring this month with many cool and grey days until the very end.
I shall leave you with this poem that could not be more apt, brought to my attention by Sally of My Beautiful Things, a true Cornish lady.
Harshness vanished. A sudden softness
has replaced the meadows’ wintry grey.
Little rivulets of water changed
their singing accents. Tendernesses,
hesitantly, reach toward the earth
from space, and country lanes are showing
these unexpected subtle risings
that find expression in the empty trees.
~ Rainer Maria Rilke [1875-1926]