2 APRIL 1948, Page 14


WHEN I said something to an old type of agricultural worker about the beauty of the weather, his response was : " We shall want our greatcoats in June." However, after this little bout of pessimism he allowed that he couldn't remember better gardening or sowing weather. Fear of a too early spring is traditional all over Europe, especially, I think, in Austria and thereabouts I and late frosts are much less deadly on the west of these isles than on many parts of the Continent. It is still too soon to decide that the spring is early. The dry fine weather haS been a god- send to farmers and gardeners, who are all well ahead with their work and have entrusted their seeds to a kindly bed ; but buds have great power of arresting development, and will stay at the point of opening for very long periods at the hint of such morning frosts as we have happily experienced. Not all things are early. The migrant birds have come pretty well pat to the normal date, though our home birds have begun to nest early. Both blackbirds, in my experience, and greenfinches were collecting nesting material well before the First of Spring ; and on the First I first saw and heard migrant warblers—in unusual number—on their way to the west and north after a day's rest in the Home Counties.