There are many blossoming trees in this glen – it started with blackthorn and plum, and is just about to hit its peak with gean and bird cherry, pear and apple. The celandines are coming to an end, but the yellow on the gorse is thickening up, there are wild violets on the Cairn footpath, and I am watching a clump of wild arum which is just about to open. It isn’t a rare plant, but I’ve never seen in elsewhere in Scotland, and judging by my instagram feed, it seems to be having a moment just now. The trees are in the first flush of bright green opening leaves, and the birds are louder each day. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many goldfinches in my life! The rain has brought on the garden enormously in the last three days, and I’ve been planting and sowing tomatoes, courgettes, chillis, dill and coriander. The new greenhouse has its first tenants
and the front garden, which was scraggy lawn and corporate evergreen when we came, is now flowery and interesting – though much too enthusiastic about weeds
These pansies grew from seeds saved when I bought a few bedding plants last year. There will be earthwalker sunflowers behind them, and a rogue seedling wild rose which hitched a ride in one of the pots we brought with us, so they are good for birds and pollinators as well as colour. There will be native annuals later – cornflower, nigella and poppies, which will provide seed for birds as well as to save for next year
A big part of my poetry practice is connecting with the territory, and though I mostly concentrate on the plants wildlife and weather, I have become very interested in the history and the engagement of the community here, which seems much livelier than in the Forth Valley. Every spare bit of ground that lies unnoccupied for more than a few months seems to have trees planted, and as I get to know the area, I am becoming aware of a lot of organisations dedicated to keeping the urban sprawl much greener than you might expect, such as the Friends of Holmhills Wood Community Park, or the Friends of the Calder. There is an active ramblers’s group, and plenty of walking routes, from the Clyde Walkway to the Rotten Calder path, which I mentioned in a recent post, and a lot of interest in the landscape and archaeology of the area. I’m rounding up Twitter resources because the bird site seems more dysfunctional by the day, and I really want to pay tribute to these accounts which help me enormously
- Lost Houses of the Clyde Valley
- Clutha Archaeology
- Maxine Ross who tweets poetry written by Lanarkshire poets I’d never heard of. There is a long tradition of poets writing about the nature of our local hill!
I am writing more thoughts about poetry than actual poetry just now, as there seems to be some activity around Ceasing Never, which I hope to share over the next week or so, and a revised edition of my translation of The Charm of Nine Herbs is going to happen at some point, but after a much longer lull than I was expecting, new poetry is finally happening – look out for moon and fire poems, and some weird mythology.