Confused by a spring journey south I thought I might have missed the apple blossom…

 

but in Northumberland the trees were just coming into bloom.  All the second year trees had at least a scattering of flowers and buds; some were completely covered.  This one is Ashmead’s Kernel, an old English russet dating from around 1700.

 

The new trees had mostly been putting their energy into growing roots, except for the precocious Katy, a hardy 20th century variety raised in Sweden.  That’s her in the foreground.  All twelve apple trees in these two rows are different varieties and they are already showing their individuality.

 

The annual flower seeds I’d optimistically sown in March were sprouting fast as the soil warmed in the long days of sunshine.  Once I’d finished weeding the beds I started transplanting densely packed seedlings to fill gaps in the new borders.  They don’t look much now but give them another month…

 

The beech hedge, planted in February, still looked like a row of dead sticks when I arrived.  Once the buds start to burst the new leaves expand with surprising speed.

For much of the fortnight my hands were too dirty to handle a camera.  One blue-skied day followed another and I moved between weeding, sowing, transplanting and painting window frames, in between visits from family and friends.  Now I’m back in Paris with a few hurried photos for the garden diary and a haze of sunlit apple blossom at the back of my mind.