Gaskell House Blogs

Spring in the Garden

4th April 2024
in blog, Garden

I returned to work in the garden last Wednesday and to the British Springtime. I had flown back from Spain the previous Saturday and had braced myself against the cold wind that hits you when you cross the tarmac to get to baggage reclaim and passport control.

I had left a city where pelargoniums had been bedded out in the city squares in February, where strelitzias and clivia are permanently planted in the city parks and where the scent of orange blossom drifts down as you walk past the trees in the street.

But I wanted to be back in Manchester for the English Spring. The garden at Elizabeth Gaskell’s House provided what I was after, in spite of the rain.

Manchester in the Spring

The primroses were in flower in the fern bed. The amelanchier and the newly planted magnolia stellata were in bloom. White hyacinths filled the bed by the front door.

Fritilleries were about to open their flowers and the fruit trees were in blossom.

There is always pleasure in the scent of orange blossom and I continue to be amazed at mass planting of strelitzia in the parks. But the pleasures of an English garden in early spring are more subtle, more fleeting and therefore need to be enjoyed while they last.

I will be working in the garden now most Wednesdays, throughout the English summer (do say hello if you spot any of the volunteers working in the garden).

There will be rain and days of grey cloud but there will be warm, not baking, sunshine. The plants and the shrubs and the trees will continue to bring colour. And I suppose in the winter I can return to the unchanged, bedded out strelitzias.

Chris Tucker, Garden volunteer

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Elizabeth Gaskell, 1864