The sun is finally warming up the earth.
The hedgerows and understory are waking up too, grazing animals including deer are enjoying the new lush grasses as they spring up before the woodland canopy closes up.
The willow is growing catkins, pussy willow that will attract insects, and we have already seen bumblebees foraging in the dandelions. Early cherry blossoms and blackthorn are in flower, oak flowers are on their way, the male and female so tiny you have to look for them.
The woodland is starting to buzz with bees collecting nectar from the lesser celandine and primroses. The forest floor is green with fresh young wild garlic shoots as well as the deceptive lords and ladies, testing even the most experienced forager with its tricky young leaves among the garlic.
The bluebells are breaking through the earth but it will be a few more weeks until they flower, covering the woodland floor with a haze of blue, punctured by the late spring wild garlic flowers.
We can see the young shoots and buds of creeping buttercup, the cleavers and nettles are early foraging delights, offering us a way to cleanse our winter bodies and wake them up.
The new growth appears as the weather is at its most unpredictable, and the woodland is recovering from a long wet windy winter. The ground is soaked.
But above ground, the woodland wrens and nuthatches, the robins and bluetits, are planning their nests already. The male wren will build a series of nests and invite his mate to choose the one she likes the most, and she then spends her time lining it with feathers.
The trees are beginning to wake up as the day length signals it is time to come out of dormancy, and the days will soon be equal length with the nights. The birch tree will bring its medicinal sap, full of nutrients, from the roots and into the branches to create new leaves for a summer of photosynthesis. We can harvest this and taste the sugars, the energy, of the tree.
March is a busy month for us in the woods; we have our Woodland Women day on mother’s day, and the start of our new Native Trees course. The Mother Daughter Journey begins at the end of the month. We have pathways to fix after the rains, windfall trees to clear and habitat piles to create. Firewood to prepare for the summer’s events. We are building an eco classroom in April, and have to source the timber and materials. The season of slumber is over.
Join us in the woods. x