Dydd Gŵyl Dewi Sant

When we lived on top of a windswept Welsh hillside, the chances of having daffodils ~ the national flower of Wales ~ in bloom for Saint David’s Day on 1st March were very slim; in fact, it was often close to the vernal equinox later in the month before drifts of yellow painted the garden with their welcome springtime beauty.

No such problems here! Tucked into sheltered, south-facing places, they are already weaving golden sunshine beneath hedgerows and trees in a joyful celebration of the season; like the primroses and violets scattered amongst them, their sweet pollen-rich scent is truly evocative and like nothing else. I love them.

I’m happy these beauties are growing in sheltered spots because March has certainly come in like a lion, with a powerful north-easterly wind snatching the smoke from the chimney and wreaking havoc where it can. It is eye-wateringly glacial, all iron and ice and ozone, swirling dead leaves in spiralling eddies and sending the crows skittering sideways across the sky. It is seriously drying, too, and the brittle air crackles and fizzes with static; my hair, usually a wild and wavy mop in more humid times now clings to my head here and sticks out at crazy angles there . . . I feel like Albert Einstein (without the genius part, obviously 😂).

The ground is baked hard, the soil dry and powdery, so much so that a tractor passing along the lane yesterday left a huge cloud of red dust in its wake. We are losing plants to drought, heart-breaking at any time but rather surreal so early in the year. There is nothing for it but to hope: hope for warmer days, for soft, steady rainfall and gentle breezes, for strong roots hanging on doggedly deep beneath the soil, for the promise of fresh new growth emerging from this wintry desert.

I’ve said many times before that gardening is a great metaphor for life, coping with the rough and the smooth, the ups and downs, the smiles and tears; at times like this, it can be hard to maintain a balanced perspective and sense of humour but if ever there was a symbol of optimism, it must be the daffies with sunshine in their frilly hearts. Here’s to March going out like a lamb . . . and in the meantime, Dydd Gŵyl Dewi hapus! Happy Saint David’s Day! 😊