It’s cherry blossom time, and for about a week, the garden is dominated by two white giants.

Ours flower about two weeks later than the pink-blossomed cherry trees planted here and there in the streets and parks in Stockholm.

April barely felt like spring. It was truly “April weather” all the way, with repeated snowfalls and temperatures barely above freezing. Today it’s May, and it’s like spring suddenly arrived at full blast, with brilliant sunshine and balmy temperature. We brought out the deck furniture and had both breakfast and lunch outside. During all of April we hadn’t considered sitting outside even once.

In the afternoon Adrian and I got busy in the garden. (Who knows how long this weather will stay!) We did all of Adrian’s favourite things in the garden, which coincidentally happened to be useful as well.

First we spread cow manure in all the planting boxes. I carted sacks of manure in the wheelbarrow, with Adrian sitting on top and shouting that he’s the “king of cow manure!”. He then killed the bags with a pair of scissors (after checking with the bag if it wanted to be killed, and the bag said yes) and we spread it out together.

Then Adrian asked if we could also assemble the frames for the netting over the strawberries. That’s his favourite project in the whole gardening season. So we did that as well, even though we’re nowhere near needing them yet.

The next coolest task in the garden is cutting things – any things – with pruning shears. So we did a bit of that as well and culled the raspberry bushes.

Because one can never have too many photos of green things growing in spring.

It’s spring – gardening season has started! I’ve taken the first steps in this season’s big project, which is to plant a hedge along the retaining wall that we had built last year, all the way along the two sides of the garden that face the street. Spiderman is helping me dig a ditch for the hedge.

The first scillas are flowering on the south side of the house, and more are on the way.

The goldfinches come in swarms. All other visitors to our bird feeder – great tits, blue tits, nuthatches – come singly or in small groups. When goldfinches come, there’s at least half a dozen of them on the feeder itself, and more hanging around and twittering in the branches of nearby trees. The most I’ve seen at and around the feeder was 20 goldfinches altogether.

They tolerate each others’ company, but not that of other birds. When a gang of goldfinches occupies the feeder and a tit tries to join in, they won’t even let it land. But nuthatches are apparently above them in the pecking order – when one of those arrives, the goldfinches take flight.

For some reason all these birds want the sunflower seeds and nothing else, and the peanuts that used to be so popular now hang there uneaten. You’d think that the tits would go eat the peanuts, which they used to love, when they can’t get access to the sunflower seeds – but no, they’d rather just leave.

With the many large trees we have, we get a lot of leaves. Much of the ground is covered so thickly that you cannot see the grass through the leaves.

Today was an excellent day for raking leaves: sunny, warmish, dry, and almost no wind. And of course raking leaves also means throwing leaves, rolling around in leaves, jumping in leaves, burying each other in leaves, etc.

Eric recently put up our new bird feeder, and now it’s like having a live show outside the window. The sun isn’t quite up when we come down in the morning, but it’s sort of light, so the birds are awake and hungry, and they have their breakfast at the same time as we do. (Everyone except me, that is – I’m never hungry immediately after getting up and ideally have breakfast about two hours after waking.)

The old feeder was a little hut on a stick, with openings on all four sides. It was nice enough and provided good viewing opportunities, but it attracted big, sloppy eaters like magpies and thrushes. They spread so much of the birdseed on the ground that one spring some of it sprouted. Which was weird but not problematic. The problems started when the spilled food attracted rats.

Last year we didn’t put up the feeder hut because we really did not want any more rats. But now we have this beautiful new contraption that is better than the old one in all ways. Except the old one was hand painted by myself and Ingrid and this one doesn’t have that personal touch. But on the other hand it has hooks for several feeders (mostly spill-proof) so we can serve different kinds of food. It has a bowl for water. It has branch-like appendages that the birds can use for landing and for just hanging around and checking out the place. And I have to admit it looks better than the old one.

Excellent tomato harvest and yummy tomatoes. As usual, it’s a race against time – we’ll see if they have time to ripen before the frosts arrive.