Posted by: Ross Gardner | March 7, 2016

Spring unsuppressed

A wintry start to March indeed.  Not all that unusual, but perhaps we have been lulled by a generally mild winter (in the Southeast of England at any rate) and a few earlier than normal showings of the outward signs of spring’s initial uncoiling.  Even by the early days of February, for instance, there were dustings of white Blackthorn blossom to be seen here and there; a nectar source perhaps for the early roused bumblebees.

It is easy to wonder whether such images of the nascent spring will be compromised by their presumptuous stirrings.  Think of those butterflies that we sometimes see in late winter.  Mid-February Brimstone are certainly not unheard of and I have seen Red Admiral on the wing on sun-washed, frosty mornings in January.  No doubt there are some casualties, but in truth things are a lot tougher than we give them credit for.

The daffodils that have been blooming early this year – in the parks, along roadsides, our own back gardens – are certainly well able to stave off the rigours of a late chill.  It was in search of Wild Daffodil that I went today.  Not that they take much searching for at Warley Place.  This Essex Wildlife Trust nature reserve near Brentwood is awash with them.  It is the site of a house whose last resident before demolition in the 1930s was one Ellen Willmott.  She was a great plant enthusiast and introduced a wide range of plants to the gardens, so that the ruins now not along nestle among rambling ivy, but also ornamental trees and swathes of introduced herbaceous plants.  Many of these plants are British natives, like the Wild Garlic that covers one corner.  Also included, of course, is the Wild Daffodil that has spread in great sweeps beneath the tree canopy and adjacent grassland.

It is the daffodils that bring many a spring-time visitor to the reserve and rightly so.  They are a fine, fine sight and as clear a vision as any of the season stalling, but definitely unsuppressed.

Wild Daffodil (Narcissus pseudonarcissus) at Warley Place.  Copyright 2012 Ross Gardner.

Wild Daffodil (Narcissus pseudonarcissus) at Warley Place. Copyright 2012 Ross Gardner.


  1. I love your writing, just wanted to say xx

    • It really is very nice of you to say so. Thank you. It is something I enjoy doing immensely.

      Just been having a look around ‘La Femme Francoise’. Very stylish. I particularly like the piece on Grimshaw.

  2. […] lucky enough to watch a firecrest picking its way among the shrubs that run wild on the grounds of Warley Place.  This is one of those birds that I have never really spent much time looking for.  I do check […]

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