by Max Akroyd

I’d intended to write a kind of eulogy for this under-rated new month; something like this:

“I love February! The start of things. The growth cycle starts to slowly unwind and the days stretch out their arms. Two years ago, I swear we had t-shirt weather during the February half-term holiday. In gardening terms, you sow crops less tentatively and with more anticipation than in January: the potential of dull green crops turns to a future rainbow assortment. Chillies, tomatoes and aubergines all start here.

Grass begins to grow – ok that’s a mixed blessing – and annual weeds start to appear. That sounds terrible, but they are the harbinger of the growing season. Those potatoes can stop hanging about in egg boxes. Onions and shallots can go straight into the warming soil too…”

However, I can see now that my love affair with February is going to be largely unrequited. This morning delivered snow, ice, -4°C., a treacherous school run and absolutely no gardening possible at all. But sometimes the best flavours are bitter-sweet.