Spring is here - at least, in Shropshire. Today we heard a skylark singing over the wintery fields, and there were snowdrops, crocuses like yolky candles and purple polyanths out in the village. The puddles wore thin skins of ice and on the shady side of the lane the tangled vegetation was furred with frost past lunchtime, but the sky was blue and cloudless and the hedges were full of the chatter of starlings.
If the weather holds fair the sun on the sodden ground will warm and wake it, and in April we will see the first annual weed shoots - although perennials like nettles and cow parsley have already started this year's growth.
It's time to mulch the garden; I'll mix leaf litter from the sycamores with home-made compost, if any is ready, and spread it on the beds for the worms to take down.