Spring on the Banks of the Tweed
As nature quietly rumbles on outside, there is something both grounding and reassuring in observing its familiar rhythms. With life, for the time being taking, on a “new normal”, we are all adjusting to a slower pace and find ourselves looking ever-closer at our surroundings.
At Milne Graden we have always appreciated the simple joy of engaging with the natural world, but now our daily walks have become the anchor in these strange and uncharted times. As we step out along the river with our canine companions, we see the subtle work being woven each day by the new season.
Beginnings of Spring
Spring on the riverbank begins with the carpet of snowdrops, at a time when Winter is still very much in charge. The zingy green flashes on their snow-white petals, hint at the coming season’s intentions and embody the shift perfectly.
As the earth warms little by little, more Spring blooms begin to emerge. Humble primroses spread custard yellow and candy pink clusters in almost every corner, while delicate anemones bring understated elegance to the woodland floor. And of course, who could fail to notice the star of the show, the iconic daffodil, “fluttering and dancing in the breeze”.
These Spring favourites line the Milne Graden drive providing a a sunny welcome to all arrivals, they frame the river view at Garden House and the jolly Peeping Jennys in the dog park are such fun. Is there a flower with more variety and joyfulness?!
Bursting into Life
The longer days mean everything around us is growing and quite literally bursting into life. As the leaves unfurl, the skies are filled with singing birds – as well as the odd butterfly. We’ve also been delighted to see several newly emerged queen bees busily searching for nest sites.
March hares can be seen boxing and vying for suiters in the meadows and the resident heron keeps a watchful eye on the Tweed’s newly arrived Spring salmon.
Some keen riverbank observers may even be lucky enough to spot the kingfisher, a spectacular but elusive sight. Through his many hours spent on the salmon beats, our ghillie Kevin has been lucky enough to witness this vivid blue inhabitant fishing from perches by slow moving or still water.
After the leaner months of Winter, the foragers amongst us delight in the spread of wild garlic and leeks, stretching throughout the woodland as far as the eye can see. Abundant – and best of all, free – they add a welcome punch of flavour to soups, pestos, tarts… The recipe possibilities are endless and we love experimenting with them in the Milne Graden kitchen. Garlic mustard and celery-like alexanders also add an extra dimension to our cooking throughout the Spring months.
As the season progresses, more floral notes come to the fore, juicy pink flowering currant, deliciously scented elderflowers, and aniseed delight, sweet cicely, to name but a few highlights we look for.
Late Spring sees the Milne Graden woodlands open up to the spectacular annual bluebell display. One of the Estate’s highlights and something we look forward to and savour every year. It’s the season finale, a pastel purple and mauve crescendo, before handing over to the brights of Summer. And in the current climate, hopefully better days ahead.