I know it is only early February and Winter may yet have some tricks up his sleeve there is a definite feel about Spring around the garden and grounds at Eco-Gites of Lenault.
In fairness, early February is the right time for snowdrops.
And catkins - it is probably not overly early for catkins in Normandy.
When the Winter is mild then the bravest of violas, in sheltered locations, will continue to flower through winter and into Spring.
Likewise, rosemary will flower from late Winter and ours is in a very protected spot, near the gite.
But there are other signs of spring awakening that you might not expect to see in early February. Whilst there are some very early varieties of grape hyacinths (Muscari) our ones don't usually flower until March, at the earliest.
Anyone forcing rhubarb might expect to see some growth by now but this leaf and stalk are pushing up in the unprotected garden.
As for hawthorn in leaf - that is FAR too early. I noticed when I was doing my bird survey on Sunday, that much of the hawthorn in our back hedge is starting to break bud, which is worrying as a sharp frost could really damage the delicate leaves.
Oh, and when I went up to the pond my approach was met with a characteristic plop plop plop as several frogs disappeared into the murky depths leaving their spawn floating on the surface. Often they spawn this early and then a sharp frost kills much of their hard work. Only time will tell if they have started too early this year.
With Spring appearing to awaken I have been busy - I've sown mangetout and broad beans in the polytunnel and can keep an eye on the temperature with my new min-max themometer. I have cabbage seeds that have just germinated inside and will move these back to the polytunnel to grow on .... where more light can get through as the boys and I cleaned the plastic (and got soaked for our efforts so we were glad it wasn't really cold!). There are weeds growing there too, although, I have to say I am not too worried about that as with few plenty of open space they are easier to hoe out now than when I need to pick them off between rows of young plants.
But it is only just February. We can get frosts for many weeks yet and gardeners need to be vigilant. The polytunnel isn't heated so I will need to wait awhile before I sow anything like tomatoes. It's all a guessing and waiting game when it comes to the Spring weather, not wanting to miss the boat with early sowings but needing to wait to be sure the worst of the winter has gone.
How is your garden growing? Is Spring peeping through or are you still in the grip of Winter's harsh hold? For more gardening goodies do click on the link below and head over to the lovely Annie and her How Does Your Garden Grow blog link up. )