It happens every year. You get completely caught out when you hear the first birdsong of spring and, to me, it happened at 5am a few weeks back. Dosing quietly in bed I thought it was part of my dream, the sweet, melodic singing but it wasn’t, it was a male blackie singing outside my bedroom window and when you listen to his song you can only think......how rewarding life can sometimes be.
Owls have been hooting and doves and pigeons cooing and nice as these calls are they don’t come close to the repetitive melodies of the blackbird or song thrush. Angry wee robins are all over the place, too, singing away, many of them will be migrant birds which will go north soon with the whoopers, pinkfeet, redwings and the rest.
But back to singing....recent research has shown that females sing almost as much as males do and it’s not an “I’m bigger than you” song it’s more a “how lovely it is to be alive in spring” song. I mentioned this, recently to an academic friend and her response was “How can they possibly know that”. My reply was “who cares, it’s such a nice thought”!
Now, to snow. I made a rash prediction that we would have a snowy winter at the Palace and I was wrong and apologised for that last month, but I was wrong by only about 500ft because further up the hill they have had a quite exceptionally snowy winter. We are approaching April now and back in the higher hills there are still significant levels of snow lying, hard snow which will take a bit of shifting and last night(March 23rd) didn’t help because we had the coldest night of the winter at minus 6 deg. But the garden is coming alive again, snowdrops and daffodils, celandines and coltsfoot,pussy willow and birdsong, they all herald the beginning of another gardening year and despite the hourly changes in weather it is steadily warming. Soon we will be surrounded by colour and scent and the new borders we have planted, this winter, in front of the hotel and up at Highways will burst into life and be a pleasure to take in.
The hotel has been running a spring package which offers a garden tour in the afternoon to anyone who fancies a short trip around the gardens with one of the gardeners. I, as oldest member of the team, took the first one and Andrew, as the youth of our team, tagged along, taking notes!! Andrew then took the next few himself and it’s been really rewarding to see a young man confidently take a tour with some knowledgeable visitors and leave them feeling that they have had a great time. Well done, Andrew....now, what was I saying about digging the vegetable patch!! Innes