I was wakened, for once, by something other than the dog. On the absolute outer verge of hearing, a deep, remote rumble, almost imperceptible. A bit like the grain-drier, but nobody would be drying grain in the first week of April. In the otherwise total silence of the night, it was puzzling enough to tip me over the edge to wakefullness and keep me from dropping off again. There seems suddenly to be distinctly less water in the pond. I do wonder if someone’s been filling bowsers, up stream somewhere. Naughty if so, but suggestive of good weather on the farmers’ forecast. After a dull and lowering start, the afternoon finally cleared to bright, blowy, and warm. I’d got less done than I’d hoped due to Honey the Hamster Loving Hippie operating in my immediate area and chattering about dusters and what have you, and I was just thinking: can I justify to myself deserting the higher reaches of bibliography, interesting in a dull sort of way though it is, in order to potter in the garden — when, as if in answer to an unformulated prayer, a delivery van appeared, and the man presented me with a box full of plants. Of course they have to go in as soon as they arrive, it stands to reason. So armed with my trowel and a good excuse, I beetled out for a happy hour’s planting and pottering. I have bought more cyclamens for under the big beech tree (where, by the way, the tiresome rooks have had their babies; there is brown-spotted green shell on the grass). There is no more beautiful leaf in the vegetable kingdom than cyclamen hederifolium, and I observed that the two which are there now have bounced back and been, if anything, encouraged by the horrors of last winter. So they have been joined by a ‘Bowles’s Apollo’ and a ‘Maurice Dryden’. I’ve shoved in another crimson-leafed ornamental rhubarb, a plant of the utmost drama; further holdings of thalictrum, a plant for which I have all the time in the world — its tactful sprays of airy mauve flowers go with yellow things, pink things, blue things, red things … whatever you like, really. Another brunnera, also a beautiful leaved plant, silver with a tracery of green veins, and some cobalt blue hepatica nobilis. The existing pot of hepatica also proved able to stand any amount of winter, and its dainty, intense, beautifully formed little violet-blue flowers have been cheering me up for a good fortnight. Since even an ordinary winter up here is a bit much, I rejoice in things that flower really early. I look forward very much to cobalt ones. Some of my more mediterranean stuff hasn’t even put its snout out of bed yet; the acanthus hasn’t, or the kiringeshoma. The acanthus will most certainly not be dead, the roots go very deep indeed, and I will have to try and remember not to plant anything in the kiringeshoma patch — it was very late last year too, so I’m far from pessimistic. Considering what things were like six weeks ago, it’s all looking amazing.