23 Mar 2013

Welcome to Spring ...

Snowy cowslip

My favourite thing at the weekend is to take five minutes to think through the day ahead before getting out of bed. (Once up, the reality of running a household can derail my objectives so it helps to have a plan already in place.)  Earlier this morning, still in bed, toasty and warm, eyes closed, I could hear that yesterday's gale force freezing winds had died down so the day seemed full of potential.

Having lost all of last weekend to a flu-like virus, I thought of all that could be done over the next two days.  First, I wanted to visit the RHS Grow Your Own show at Wisley, followed by a brisk walk round the gardens.  Second, was to get into the veg garden, dig over and replant the herb bed, plant out the two edible shrubs and raspberry canes recently bought and start to cut back the enormously overgrown shrubs in the middle border. That was enough to be going on with so I got up, full of optimism, and drew the curtains ... to be met with a view of thickly falling snow settling on the hedges.

Yesterday I noticed long drifts of opening daffodils throughout the college grounds in tune with the Spring equinox three days ago.  This morning, Siberian winds have taken the UK back into winter. Surely it's time the wintry weather was over?

Snowy veg patch
I won't be doing any digging today!
I walked down to the garden to take a few snaps for posterity.  There was more slush than snow but freezing easterly winds had created ice drops on the leaf tips of shrubs. Since then it's been snowing heavily all day and is just, mid-afternoon, starting to settle.

Frozen cornus

Out of interest, I looked back over what I'd written in March of previous years.  Last year the weather had become clement enough to have a nine hour tidying stint outdoors; I wrote about planting herbs and that garlic shoots were growing well. In 2011, I was thrilled to discover my pear trees thick with blossom and harvested Romanesco cauliflowers for my supper. 2010 saw the first of my spring posts as we'd started the veg patch in the previous year.  I wrote about my trip to Sarah Raven's Perch Hill farm and Derek Jarman's Prospect Cottage, clear blue skies and eating baby spinach, beetroot and spring onions from the garden and seeing the Broccoli Raab florets forming. I remember that the entrance fee to Perch Hill was waived as the garden wasn't as advanced as expected for the time of year and rain had recently fallen so other visitors had a right old time trying to unstick their vehicles from the oozing mud in the car parking field.

I wrote about chilly winds at the beginning of March in all three previous years so perhaps this Spring isn't so different, although I don't think it was this cold.  Could warmer weather be just around the corner for this year as well?  Gosh, I hope so!

Frozen cerinthe
Iced Cerinthe leaves.

22 comments:

  1. Those early-morning planning sessions are invaluable! My plans for today were definitely upset by the snow. I had wanted to sow some more Broad Beans, but there was no chance of that.

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    1. It's so frustrating isn't it, Mark! Without a greenhouse to start things off in, I feel the need to start sowing soon - so let's hope that weather changes are on the horizon!

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  2. Not much planning going on here in Ireland at the moment. It's just too cold to work outside and the same in store for next week. Would love to visit Derek Jarman's cottage sometime.
    Bridget.

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    1. I agree, Bridget. Even wrapped up warm, eventually my feet and hands get cold. I long for the days when I can spend much more time outside. Derek Jarman's cottage is privately owned since his death but people do still go and it really is different and rather lovely - well worth a return visit for me!

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  3. Spring is so unpredictable, but still I think it the time we all like the best. It is so full of anticipation and hope. Spring is coming and that we can rely on as a truth.

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    1. Hello Charlie, thanks for commenting. You're absolutely right, we all live in hope of great things in store - Looking into my seed box makes me feel very optimistic so fingers crossed for a decent summer for all of us, wherever we are in the world!

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  4. Some welcome is all I can say! I especially sympathise with people who work during the week and then wake up to this. At least I've managed to do a few days plotting during the month. Flighty xx

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    1. It's so nice that you appreciate what a dilemma this weather poses for people (like me) who work most or all of the week. It seems that I've been working during every bit of decent weather we've had so far this year - except for the glorious day when I was due to go to the RHS London Plant and Design Fair so was able to steal a couple of hours in the garden. But, as Charlie, above, says we can rely on the fact that spring will come and will be followed by summer. A cheery thought! xx

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  5. Hopefully plans made now can be put into action next week.

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    1. The cold weather looks set to continue for a while longer; wouldn't it be lovely if the weather warmed up to coincide with the Easter break!

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  6. I don't think I can ever remember it being so cold in March before, we might not have had any snow but the non stop rain and freezing winds still have taken their toll on the garden, goodness knows when I will be able to get on it again! Hope your snow soon goes and that you can get on with your list of jobs!

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    1. Yes, it's the icy winds that are keeping me indoors. It must be so frustrating for you, Pauline, as you must have lots of jobs to do in your lovely garden. It looks like freezing temperatures are forecast for the next few days - and I'd rather this than be losing lots of seedlings planted out too soon! (I have yet to sow anything except baby salad leaves and herbs in my kitchen.)

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  7. No gardening here this weekend either, the snow's still on the ground, and there's an icy wind. The weather was lovely last March, but we got snow in April, so I hope we're getting all the bad weather out of the way in one go and then the rest of the year can be glorious. We can dream.

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    1. Ah, you've reminded me of how I lost all my fruit blossom last year, Jo! Yes, it would be much better to get all the bad weather out of the way and keep the seasons as they should be - and no more of the yo-yo weather! Wouldn't that be nice. I lived in Yorkshire during my teens and remember how cold it would get - big difference temperature wise from where I am now. Stay warm, and fingers crossed that we'll soon be sowing outside! x

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  8. I'm up in Cumbria and it is freezing! I haven't been able to do anything at my plot, also none of the seeds that I sowed have sprouted because its been too cold in the greenhouse :( I am counting on a toasty hot April, then we can all play catch-up!

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    1. I spoke yesterday with other garden bloggers who have found that their greenhouses have not been warm enough for sprouting unless they have a heat source in there. The soil needs to be at 5C minimum before most seeds will sprout so there's no harm in waiting. They'll all catch up in the end!

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  9. Oh the best laid plans of mice and men or should I say women Caro! Having lost a good part of the last month I was desperate to get out into the garden/allotment this weekend but all hopes were cruelly dashed. Hopefully April will ring in shades of Robert Browning's poem and we can all get gardening soon.

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    1. It's slightly brighter here in London today so making me feel more optimistic about spring - at least I can get some digging done and plant a few hardier things out. Let's hope April showers aren't the next thing to cope with!

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  10. I always start the day with a plan too, though sometimes it has disappeared before I even clean my teeth. I was amazed that we had snow in the last week of March only 5 years ago, because the weather does feel unseasonable and very unreasonable. The only thing that is saving my sanity is that I have lots of indoor chores to do at present, and it is something of a relief to keep waking up to cold and snowy weather, it makes me feel I am not missing much...

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    1. Ah, that's interesting. I'd forgotten that we had snow 5 years ago. It was just as we had our funds through to start setting up a veg garden and I remember now how cold it was because we had to delay.
      I absolutely agree that this unseasonal weather does have a silver lining - it's making me feel a lot better about not having started any seeds off - I don't want a house full of leggy seedlings!

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  11. Hi Caro. How disappointing to wake up to such a wintry scene. We've been lucky with only a light dusting, although not too far from us in the Brecon Beacons people have been cut off. Spring always does have a sting in the tail. I remember planting out some delphiniums in April a few years ago and a hailstorm deluged the garden in enormous hailstones which were so deep it looked like it had snowed. Tulips were damaged and hostas torn to shreds. This weather does feel weird though. Our seasons certainly don't seem to be so defined any more. I've got everything crossed for warmer weather. ;)

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    1. Glad you mentioned the hailstones, Welly. I bought a delphinium at Great Dixter yesterday and was going to plant it out today. Think I'd better check the weather forecast first! You must have felt very upset at such destruction of your garden plants, hopefully they survived and grew back again.
      I have a suspicion that the seasons have just shifted on a by a few weeks so we feel that winters are longer. When we do get some good weather, it makes it all the more appreciated! :) x

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Caro x

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