I have been waiting to muse about Topsmead in April in order to give Ms. April a chance to get her weather act together and give up alternating between tantalizingly warm weather and bracingly raw and wet weather. Silly me.
Finally, realizing that the month of April was slipping away, my poodle and I marched up to Topsmead to see what brave flora, if any, was peeking out of the still cold ground. We found that the blues were beginning. Here and there in the south garden were one or two bluebells. Surprisingly, it was on the north side of the dovecoat that we had more luck; a multi-flowered rug of bluebells was rolling itself out under the protection of the lilac trees. Pleased, I snapped some photos with my iphone before hustling back to the car.
It seems that the uncertainty of April’s weather has been matching the uncertainty of the world outside of Topsmead. Perhaps the Topsmead gardens are smart to exercise caution as they pick their time to bloom. As Eliza Doolittle from the musical My Fair Lady might have said in her cockney accent: Oh! The bloomin’ uncertainty of it all!
With barely a week left in April and encouraged by the somewhat balmier weather and the sounds of the peepers at night, my poodle and I returned to Topsmead to check the status of the gardens and give Ms. April a second chance. After all, April showers are supposed to be preparing for May flowers.
We were rewarded for our efforts. The previous few days of sun had coaxed the perennials in the north and south cottage gardens into making an appearance, sprouting in well-planned clumps and creating a mosaic of different shades of green. The tiniest buds were forming on the lilacs and the apple trees. The blues of the bluebells had been joined by the almost-purples of the periwinkles along the front of the cottage. And the yellows had come out: daffodils and forsythia. Much cheerier!
Every visit to Topsmead teaches me something. This visit reminded me that there will always be periods of uncertainty, but persistence and time and good cheer have the power to transform the discomfortingly raw weather of uncertainty into the bloomin’ sunshine of certainty.