After nearly two weeks of grey skies, mist and rain, this afternoon we had what people call ‘a borrowed day’, a proper spring day in what is still winter. It was warm enough in the sun to garden comfortably, without any spiteful wind to drive you indoors again. I was able to do some more spring cleaning of the garden, mostly cutting down dead stems and removing debris. It’s amazing the difference a little warmth makes. Snowdrops have been out for a while, and so have pulmonarias. Hellebores, which just a couple of days ago were hanging ragged heads, have opened pink and clear. A few daffodils are showing colour and the first tulip shoots have burst through the soil. The mysterious solitary crocus, the very one in today’s icon, has opened bright and imperial. In a very sheltered spot there’s even a grape hyacinth in flower. As for that wonderful plant, Erysimum ‘Bowles’ Mauve’, it still has a few flowers with buds promising more; I felt it deserved to be tidied up. Of course, weeds, in wheels, shoot long and lovely and lush; but they’ll have to wait for another day.