Elspeth Scott finds some consolation in the wild flowers and spring visitors, in spite of the weather.

Despite the coolness of the weather lately there is plenty of evidence of spring at the allotments.

The forget-me-nots have spread to form a carpet of blue intermingled with pink and purple grape hyacinths, and so far the succulent stems of the lily of the  valley have avoided being eaten by slugs.

Alongside are wild strawberries, already in flower, that have spread beneath a rose and the new shoots of rhubarb, which will soon form a canopy of thick stems and gigantic leaves.

This patch suits them since the strawberries are a hardy perennial found growing wild in woodlands and hedgerows.

Unlike the large garden varieties, wild strawberries and their leaves have medicinal properties, and the tasty fruit is much prettier and smaller.

Recently there have been various fox sightings at the allotments.

One early evening, a small vixen with a healthy-looking amber coat trotted on to my plot, briefly hovering and sniffing before advancing towards me, then crossing over to the adjacent plot. 

Here she found a pair of leather gardening gloves which she hastily picked up in her mouth before making off with them, pausing at intervals as if to query what the fuss was about, and then disappearing into a wooded area at the far corner of the site. 

Of course, foxes and gloves share a commonality in the name of the native wildflower, the foxglove, but this came from the old name 'folksglove' and is to do with fairies, or fairy folk, rather than foxes.

The raised beds are now almost full of compost ready to begin planting. 

A few seedlings are beginning to sprout on my windowsill, with the peas taking the lead. 

This year most of the seeds are Italian from the oldest family-run seed company in the world, grown from traditional local varieties which I hope will provide abundant crops whatever the weather this summer.