Springtime, when fresh green leaves shove their way through the damp soil and spring flowers begin to put in an appearance. Everything that appears is bright and glorious, from the early Gorse with its strong scent reminiscent of Coconuts, to the tiniest snowdrop.
The other week Dunvegan Castle & Gardens hosted a Snowdrop open day. Wow, what an array of Snowdrops too, huge drifts of them cascading down to the burns and through the woods. Large ones, with bold green skirts contrasted with diminutive species, yet all amazed and delighted the eye.
Snowdrops weren’t the only flowers in evidence at the gardens either, there were beautiful Hellebores, delightful Crocuses and even a Rhododendron or two in flower, plus Narcissi great and small.
Enter the hot house in the walled garden and your senses were assaulted by the scent of Jasmine. Strong and beautifully coloured Passion Flowers plus tiny oranges on a tree. It was a feast for the eyes and nose.
Elsewhere on the Island there are Horsetail Ferns emerging in damp and soggy places, looking more like miniature Triffids than any plant you can readily identify. Bluebell leaves are pushing through in woods and Primroses wink from sheltered nooks and crannies wherever they have managed to gain a foothold.
Even the birds have changed their songs to a more melodious version of their usual repertoire, especially when the sun shines and the day warms up as it did last weekend. An unusual few days of almost balmy temperatures that not only cheered us humans up, but put an extra zing into every creatures’ day. Robins sang heartily, Chaffinches proclaimed their new spring plumage and even the Eagles called relentlessly as they climbed and drifted and played on the thermals.
It wont be long before the grass starts to grow, when the hills change from yellow to bright green and trees that are presently merely dark branches and twigs will suddenly begin to come to life again as the sap rises. Especially obvious will be the Larch, that will suddenly change from appearing to be dead to turning lime green as new leaves emerge. Catkins are on show already.
So, despite Storm Freya which has spat salt all over my windows as she sucked water from the sea on her journey across the Atlantic, Spring is here on Skye. Long may it continue!