Saint David (c. 500–589) (Welsh: Dewi Sant) was a native born Welsh Bishop, during the 6th century; he was later regarded as a saint and specifically as the patron saint of Wales.
He encouraged his followers to live an aesthetic life, ‘drinking only water and eating only bread with salt and herbs’ – definitely no meat and no beer. They were also ‘to pull the plough themselves, without draught animals’. No one was permitted personal possessions. No wonder his saint’s day falls in the middle of Lent!.
David went on pilgrimages and was associated with Glastonbury Abbey and the establishment of monastic settlements around Wales, south west England and Brittany. A busy chap, if not a very jolly one.
The photo shows the daffodils, Wales’ symbolic flower, and camellias bursting into bloom in our sunny garden, beautiful forerunners of Spring.
1st March 2012
Today we woke up to the first official day of British Summertime. I don’t mind losing an hour of sleep as it feels so positive: the run up to long warm Summer evenings spent in the garden or sauntering along the lane after an evening meal. Have you ever noticed how many more people you meet as friends and neighbours come out of Winter hibernation, drawn by gentle warmth and longer hours of daylight?
The birds definitely know it’s Spring; the dawn chorus is wonderful and there is song and activity throughout the day. The bird feeders in the oak tree are a delight to watch as lots of small birds avail themselves of an easy meal – I’d rather the jackdaws stayed away however, we call them the ‘football hooligans’ as they descend in gangs, raid the feeders and even manage to fling them to the ground. The small birds return immediately the vandals have flown off and seem unhassled by the whole performance.
Rabbits are also much in evidence, with some small ones already running around the lawns. They save us a lot of fuel for the lawn mower by keeping the grass short but, unfortunately, they won’t eat weeds! I wasn’t happy last Summer however when one of their number ate every single fruit from my little fig tree – I had no idea they could reach it – I’d been watching them ripening with much anticipation but I obviously wasn’t alone because one day every fig was gone! I hope the guilty little perisher had a tummy ache!
Up on the ‘daffodil lawn’, just above the Cottage, the flowers are in full bloom now – it’s a picture every year, with all those sunny yellow heads nodding gently in the breeze – and the hyacinths and camellia are looking so lovely around the garden. It won’t be long before our woods are carpeted with bluebells again.
I really love the arrival of Spring here at Coed y Berclas but I must start making plans to protect my figs this year!
The snowdrops have now finished flowering and the daffodils are in full bloom especially on the aptly named ‘Daffodil Lawn’ which catches sunlight throughout the day. In fact, Coed y Berclas ushered in St David’s Day (March 1st) with a fanfare of the first yellow trumpets opening their smiling faces to the sun. These lovely blooms were well chosen as Wales’ national emblem. We brought one daffodil into the house where it glows in our kitchen against a backdrop of Snowdonia and the Menai Strait.
The Spring has begun here in earnest and the birds are busy, their song brightening our garden – I’ve been out there starting the seasonal tidying. There’s plenty to keep me busy and soon I’ll be out in the vegetable garden getting the seed potatoes in – I love going out mid summer, taking crops straight from our garden and into the kitchen. I don’t know whether they do taste better but they certainly seem to and they couldn’t be fresher. It always takes me back to my childhood, sent out to pick peas for Sunday lunch – there were always three for the bowl and one for me and I still eat a few while I’m picking – I refuse to cook any peas I’ve grown, they’re much better fresh!
The days are lengthening now and Daf and I went back to Llyn Coed Mawr at Malltraeth – such a lovely peaceful place – and this time there were no fewer than ten egrets sitting together like sophisticated white mopheads resting in the last of the day’s sunlight. Two pairs of Canada geese noisily layed claim to the same small island, Mallard were ‘a dabbling, up tails all’, a couple of Gadwall glided silently along with the ‘peeping’ coot, while a group of Shovelers paired up to perform an intricate circle dance. The bright eyes of the Tufted Ducks caught our attention before they vanished under water to come up some distance away. A large Buzzard flew low over the water but none of the waterfowl seemed in the least bit disturbed. High in a tree two Raven sat motionless, surveying the scene below. I’m sure you can see why Llyn Coed Mawr is now one of our favourite places.