Springtime in England – in 1900

One of my favorite books on my shelves is ‘The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady’ – written by Edith Holden.  My copy by Michael Joseph / Webb & Bower is a facsimile reproduction of a naturalist’s diary from the year 1900.  Edith Holden recorded in words and painting the flora and fauna of the British countryside through the changing seasons of the year.  As I sit in lovely mid-morning sunshine in my study, I am copying the words of Edith Holden – just a written – of this 31st March 1900:

Cycled to Brushwood, – a still, grey day, with beautifully dry roads.  March is going out like a lamb.

Primroses in a week or twos’ time, but I found quantities of Primroses and Sweet Violets, (both blue and white) on the banks of the fields and the roadside.  I found the first Dog Violet that I have seen in blossom this year at the top of Dick’s lane; the Cowslips are only a bud yet; but everywhere the Celanchine maole the ditches bright, and the Strawberry leaved Cinque-foil spangled the banks.  I saw two Robins’ and two Blackbirds’ nests, none with eggs in. I saw numbers of sweet birds as I spun along between the hedges.  A tiny greenish bird flashed across the road, I thought for a minute it was a warbler, but as it emerged into sight again for a moment in the hedge, I saw it was a Golden-crested Wren:I have not seen any of our Summer visitors yet.

The Wheatear is the first to arrive in England, I believe, but that bird is not found in this part of the country.  The Chiff-chaff is generally the first to put in an appearance here, and he is closely followed by the Willow Warbler.

March has been a very cold month, but dry on the whole.  There were two or three bright, genial days in the first week that were like a fore-taste of summer.

I hope you like this.

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