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China Girl blog 8th April 2020

Now that April has at last arrived, life is tripping over itself to get going. The Romans named April from the verb aperire to open, which fits well with the atmosphere of the month; buds are bursting, and at last the sun is warming our hearts.

Across the small River Tone sits our wonderful old oak. The oak is Britain’s most massive tree and winter is the best time to view an oak, when it is bare of leaves and stands in its naked truth. It is often among the first indicators that spring has sprung and the ground is warming. The rule of thumb for ancient oaks is they grow for three hundred years, mature for another three hundred years, and veteranize for another three hundred. Mother is not sure how old our oak is, and surely it has guarded the old house, standing sentinel over those who have lived here in past times.

Three weeks into lockdown the weeds bitter-cress, dandelions and all unwanted vegetation are poking their heads above ground. Without Chris to help we can see life will be weeding all day and by lantern light.!

Glorious Spring lifts our spirits, the viburnums are in full flower, and the scent filling the garden.

Flowering in the damp meadows are the Fritillary meleagris, their charm lies in their delicate beauty, standing in groups as if chatting to one another. Their journey started in ancient Persia and then on to Turkey, introduced into Europe in the 16th Century. Sadly, some species have become endangered through their use in Chinese medicine.

The soft light of early summer and the warming of April brings cheer to our lives.