Spring has sprung, even in icy Denmark

Spring has sprung, even in icy Denmark

Danish spring is weeks behind. We are here in the dog days of February. The ground is recovering slowly from -15C the week before. Every night now another glistening frost, and mornings blurred by mist.

My autumn-sown calendula experiment has failed, the plastic-box housing insufficient in the February freeze. It is a flower battlefield – calendula corpses everywhere. We will hold off until Easter. I buy hardy Nordic-grown seed while we wait.

Our days are counted in snowdrops: two solo blooms when we arrive, then more each day. Small bunches peek out of still-traumatised soil, thrusting through fallen leaf. Soon there will be daisies and swards of celandine.

Every night now another glistening frost, and mornings blurred by mist
The early signs of our autumn tulip planting: four or five small shoots with tops chewed by deer or hare are soon dozens after a few sunnier days. Whether we will be able to return when they’re in bloom we don’t yet know. It was ever thus. The thought of what they’ll look like has always oddly been enough. The good neighbour will send photos.

Crocus are starting to appear, with some flowering fast. There’s no sign of the snakeshead fritillary. This is our first attempt at growing them here and I will try to be patient. The naturalising tulips took at least three springs to show. They flowered only when we had all but given up.

There’s the last winter wood to chop and stack, and some leaf raking and pruning to do. We likely won’t finish it. Mostly, though, we are here to find sunny spots for Henri’s mum to sit in, plump cushions to warm and soften the wooden benches, to offer stronger arms to support her walkabout.

Birds swarming the feeders delight her. Sea air to breathe in. Spring brings renewal and sometimes the hope of this is enough.