'The March equinox is the movement when the sun crosses the true celestial equator – or the line in the sky above the earth’s equator – from south to north, around March 20 (or March 21) of each year. At that time, day and night are balanced to nearly 12 hours each all over the world and the earth’s axis of rotation is perpendicular to the line connecting the centers of the earth and the sun.Hmm. It's the sort of explanation that makes me wish I had concentrated more in school. Even now I feel my brain going walkabout at the very thought of things scientific. I am not proud of this.
In gyroscopic motion, the earth’s rotational axis migrates in a slow circle based as a consequence of the moon’s pull on a nonspherical earth. This nearly uniform motion causes the position of the equinoxes to move backwards along the ecliptic in a period of about 25,725 years.'
My diary puts it rather more succinctly: 'First day of Spring', and yes, that's my sort of definition. I think all I need to know is, that from now until the summer solstice in June, the days will be getting longer - and as importantly, warmer. Hurrah for that.
The past week has been fine though - any frost (and there have been a succession of frosty mornings) has quickly melted away and sunshine has followed. We'll gloss over the few days when fog crept up the dingle and hung low and dank like a re-run of November weather. Frost may remind us not to get too complacent but buds are swelling and birds are singing ever earlier in the morning and at dusk.
I've been giving the garden a bit of a spring-clean and doing some of the jobs which should have been done in the autumn. The long bitter winter has taken its toll and there are many gaps where plants have been lost. However, I shall see this as an opportunity. I don't suppose that the same will apply to weeds - they will survive come what may. I hauled out buttercups by the bucketful yesterday and know that lurking underground are the horrid white roots of bindweed just waiting until my back is turned. Bastards.
So it's time for some major replanting. This morning I have got out my big book of good ideas for planting combinations. All very inspiring - beautiful photographs of borders at the peak of perfection. Colour, tone and texture to aspire to and be inspired by. I know the theory.
The trouble seems to be that my garden doesn't. Like some cantankerous old aunt it knows what it likes, and it likes what it knows - and the 'thrivers' and survivors are not necessarily the plants I wish to plant exclusively. Dog roses, hardy geraniums (particularly Bevan's Variety), Nepeta Six Hills Giant, Viburnam tinus and, curiously, Angelica just love it here and push and shove weaker specimens out. I love them too, but in moderation.
I am writing a list. It will be tempered with the knowledge that the cissies of the plant world will not be included. It will probably be a long one. Much money will inevitably change hands. I will wish I had shares in the Dingle and Derwen.
I shall buy and plant hopefully. This is after all a time of year filled with such promise.