Spring has come early to South Oxfordshire this year - yesterday I spotted the first daffodil tips!
Yes, there they are, peeking out of the soil, and it was sheer luck that I saw them before I stepped onto the bed to dead-head the roses, which are still flowering.
This means we are onto that awkward phase where you dare not walk on the beds - or certain places in the lawn - for fear of damaging the shoots, but they aren't yet big enough to see clearly. Or, worse, they are covered by fallen leaves that haven't yet been raked up for leaf mold (is it me, or has been a good year for leaves? There seem to be huge piles of them to rake up), so you end up forced to rake up the leaves before doing any other viatal jobs in the garden.
In a couple of weeks, if it stays mild, the shoots should be big enough to be avoided, but until then we will all be doing what Helen Yemm calls the Boot and Shoot ballet, which I thought was a lovely name for it - you know, where you spend a lot of time balancing precariously on one foot while trying to spot somewhere safe to put the other foot.
The good news is that daffodils put up leaves first, buds afterwards, so if you do accidentally crush a clump of tiny green points, they should be able to recover, and you won't have broken off all the flowers!