What a bit of sunshine can do

My car broke down on Friday night, at 9pm on a lonely stretch of the A68 in Northumberland. I pulled on to the verge and rang for roadside assistance, and presently a chatty Geordie chap turned up in a brightly-coloured relay van and took me, and my car, back home to Edinburgh.

The sunniest Easter weekend

And this is how I found myself unexpectedly in Edinburgh on the sunniest Easter weekend in the history of sunny Easter weekends, rather than 300 miles away with my family in Derbyshire, where by all accounts the weather was fairly pants. I felt perversely lucky to have broken down and therefore be sunning myself on a bench in our Edinburgh garden, the sun-starved Brazilian strumming his guitar contentedly by my side.

In this way I got to observe first hand what a weekend of cloudless warmth and sunshine will do to a garden in April. The plants in our garden were so happy to bathe in sunshine; you could practically see them growing. Remember my poor, diseased purple sage? Not a month ago it looked ready to die. Well, it is now producing healthy leaves.

Today: recouperating sage
Not a month ago, ready to die.

The clematis is budding beautiful purple lanterns.


The rhubarb is shooting up bright stalks that are deliciously ready to eat.


The tulips are almost out (way behind everyone else’s, as usual). The azalea has produced orangey-red buds that are ready to burst.

Azalea: ready to burst

The lilac is putting forth green flower buds that will soon be purple and scented.


The geranium is flowering beautifully.


The weird spirally bulb things by the back door are actual bluebells!

Weird spirally bulb things
Actually bluebells

The lavender and rosemary think they are back in Provence where they belong. Birds are singing, bumblebees whizz past (straight past: no actual flowers to feed on yet), and the garden is generally humming with health, relief and happiness after the long winter. Who knew that a cold, northern city like Edinburgh could produce such warmth and growth and horticultural wonderment?

This blog is mainly about my gardening ignorance and education, about trying and doing and failing and learning and about occasional successes; this weekend for once I let myself sit back and enjoy the garden for what it was without judgement or correction.

The Brazilian

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