Yellow flowers bring golden gardening days

A spring in my step | Life and style
Mellow yellow: cowslips in the amber Danish sun. Photograph: Allan Jenkins

The cowslips came in a day. We watched Danish spring unfold. Henri and I often skirmish about mowing when we arrive. She is more into neatness and, anyway, had a happy childhood summerhouse here, just along the bay. Her memories may need maintenance.

Scandi spring is yellow: swathes of sharp celandine creep across banks, explosions of dandelion (not my wife’s favourite) brighten the meadows. Then there are gatherings of primrose and cowslips.

It has been cold here so the usual rules don’t apply. I normally gather cowslips before she mows, but they are still hugging the ground. By the next morning, though, the sun is up and so are the cowslips. Daisies, too, facing the light. We decide to leave them, watch everything grow: see the grass overtake the wintry moss, the henbit spread, the hepatica and wood anemone invade from the edges.

There is lots to do, tidying, pruning, clearing away. The oaks almost panicked last year, perhaps due to the fierce drought. The remaining of the thousand acorns our big trees dropped are digging down. The dividing beech hedges will need a fierce prune and the perpetual war against bramble wants a focused attack. We arm ourselves with gloves and secateurs, and get to work.

Soon we are scratched but happy. The hordes have been repelled, for now. I rake at small surfaces and spread poppy seed, a new pink campion that has caught my eye and a few nasturtiums: deep red Empress of India with its blue-green leaf. I hope its rambling, unruly status fits. What we are doing here isn’t really gardening. The only things we plant are replacement trees, plus a few herbs in a box. Mostly in spring, we mooch around, smell the wild cherry blossom and grow new memories.

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