Marion looked down the garden, a gentle slope, with Peter and Peterkin digging near the bottom. The hedge on the right was full of silver ash twigs, dotted with black buds, sticking straight up above the bright green grass. Beyond the ditch at the end of the garden the forest sloped up steeply, bare of leaf – tall smooth beeches, roughened oaks, corrugated ashes, standing up on the red-brown leaf-mould earth through which patches of juicy bluebell leaves and dog’s mercury were now showing. Dotted about this steep wood were dark yew trees and the occasional wild cherry, misty white with opening blossom. Nearer to, in the undergrowth of elder and honeysuckle, hazel bushes were draped in long yellow catkins, sometimes straining out horizontally in the gusts of wind, then bouncing around as the wind released them. Marion looked to the left, beyond the garden fence and her apple tree, still only in tight bud, to the birch trees on the Common. The green veil that covered them today had hardly been apparent yesterday, and the snowy blackthorn in the hedge had thickened. She picked a primrose from a clump in the grass and sniffed its tiny velvety scent, then she called to Peter and Peterkin to come and eat. She went in herself and gave the primrose to Alice, showing her how to smell it first.