February is a dangerous time which threatens the gardener with black frosts, sun, damp, drought and wind. This shortest month, this whippersnapper among months, this premature, leap-year and altogether unsound month surpasses all the others in its cunning tricks… The devil only knows why in leap years one day is added to precisely this fickle, catarrhal, crafty runt of a month. (29)
The illustrations are by Josef Čapek, and this is a beautiful rendition of myself yesterday experiencing ‘Storm Doris’, though Salford experienced more wind I think:
…if you look properly (you must hold your breath as you do), you will find buds and sprouts on almost everything; with a thousand, tiny pulses life is rising from the soil. We gardeners do not give in now; we are rushing into new sap. (35)
My own little yard — rented, so I cannot take a hoe to it as Čapek suggests is necessary in February in an obsessive attempt to make its soil as fertile as it can be. But there are fine buds and sprouts, and life is rising.