The tide has turned and each day the wash of green becomes more intense. Down by the stream, in the woods the ground has already disappeared beneath a flood of wild garlic, nettle, dogs mercury, archangel, cow parsley and wood anemone. You feel the total newness of everything and understand that nothing will ever be this new again. Standing amidst this glowing green as the morning sun lights everything with an intense luminosity you feel simultaneously a sense of grounded calm alongside a persistent, restless energy. Seemingly connected to a primal woodland dwelling memory, the vitality of green makes you feel grounded, alert and alive.
Soon the canopy will close over, filtering green light to make an underwater world of the understorey. But right now the buds are only just breaking. Young leaves have avoided the recent frosts and unfurl to reveal themselves in all their soft vulnerability. Hazel, hornbeam, hawthorn, willow, elder and alder are all awakening, while the oak and the ash are still deciding whether we shall have a wet or dry summer. Ivy has a polished sheen of newness and wherever you look every shade of green is layered one on the other – leaf green, apple green, grass green, sap green, olive green, acid green, sage green, lime green, jade green, emerald green, blue green, chartreuse and citrine.
At distance the hedgerows and trees are still brown, just some with the faintest green haze, but the fields and meadows are increasing in bulk and volume of colour day by day. The vibrating grass is growing almost visibly while the rosettes of meadow forbs are making their presence known, gathering strength to flower before the sward closes over them in what seems like just a matter of days now.
The garden is always the tortoise in this race, purposefully lagging behind to allow the landscape around us to burgeon first. Although still mostly mulch, the beds are scattered with islands of growth – sanguisorba, thalictrum, iris, digitalis, euphorbia, peony – soon destined to become a continent. The early giant fennels ascend above them in a froth of green. Chlorophyll fountains. Soon the endless parade of flower will start. Already the first tulips and fritillaries are shouting their reds, yellows, pinks and oranges. But for now the colour of the season is green. The green of growth, renewal, energy and anticipation. The green of hope.
In the invisible places
Where the first leaves start
Green breathes growth
Simultaneously dreaming into position what impinges on its edges
So that grasses of different kinds should appear in the world
Green hides roots, lights flowers
Green shines rain
Like a looked at thing being turned in all directions
Alice Oswald, Ideogram for Green
Words & photographs: Huw Morgan
Published 9 April 2022