26 Feb 2018

Prelude to a Siberian spring

~ Buds on the gooseberry bushes ~


Dare I write this with a forecast freeze from north Russia bearing down on the southern regions of the UK this week?  Following hellebores and snowdrops, I'm thrilled to see definite signs of other plants waking up in the garden, so much so that if the Big Freeze doesn't happen, spring might arrive bang on cue but I'm not hopeful. The meteorological end of winter in the UK is in three days, at the end of February; it looks like this year we'll have to pin our hopes on the astronomical start to spring almost three weeks later on the 20th March.

Like most gardeners I'm ready for winter to be over. I have tentative plans to start sowing my brassicas in the next couple of weeks but, much more than that, I want to be outside more regularly watching seeds come to life and blossom appear.  The good news is that, all being well, the scaffolding around my block of flats is due to come down in two to three weeks. Like my neighbours here, I've found it hard to live with so much darkness and noise as the roof is retiled, windows replaced and concrete repaired. It's a struggle to keep my balcony clear of debris and plants have suffered as a result. But the end is in sight and I'm sure it will all be worth it ... after the big clean up!

I love the weekends here at the moment, so quiet with no builders around. The bonus this weekend is beautiful clear sunny blue skies, even if the gentle breeze was bitingly cold - a forerunner of the promised Siberian blast? Whatever, it was enough to get me outdoors early yesterday morning until my fingers went numb. My fault, I should have taken gloves as well as my camera.

This afternoon, Sunday, I ventured out again, garden fork and secateurs in hand, this time properly wrapped up and with my thermal gloves on. I stayed out until a setting sun on the other side of the buildings made tiny aeroplanes high in the sky turn a shade of copper red and I could start to feel my feet turn cold. The soil had already started to freeze on the surface but I'd made good progress having dug out unwanted plants, moved others and trimmed back seedheads.

So, for the record, in case the garden is annihilated by frost and nature has to start again, this is where the garden is at this weekend. (There are also leaf buds starting to open on the quince tree which I'm pretty sure will not survive icy winds.)

~ New leaves on the spreading thyme ~

~ rhubarb starting to sprout ~
~ more herbs - chives, pretty sure this will get through the cold ~

~ hyssop, usually dies back in winter ~
And a few flowers:




Let's hope that our unfurling gardens survive any snow or frost in days to come! 
What's waking up in your patch? 


14 comments:

  1. We have bulbs in bud too and some crocuses on flower. I do hope that the predicted weather doesn’t spoil everything

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    1. Oh me too, Sue. On the bright side, we've had snow in March before now and at least this cold snap isn't taking the blossom off the fruit trees! It's hopefully killing off a few more slugs as well! :)

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  2. Looks like you had a blissful day, even if it was a bit nippy. What's waking up around here? Absolutely nothing...yet! We have had a warm spell in the last couple of weeks with temps even reaching into the low teens on a couple of days and I'm starting to get worried that perennials and trees will start to wake up. Winter is usually not over until end of March, so if they do mistakenly think it's spring, I'm worried about the damage the next cold snap ('cause you know there will be one) will do.

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    1. I think it's sensible to hold onto the fact that frosts and bad weather can carry on throughout March and sometimes into April, even in the south of England. The gardens here are fairly well protected by being both in the south and on the edge of a city but it still pays to be cautious. Our winter has been relatively mild so far which is why everyone is caught on the hop by this Siberian blast, it's very unusual. I do hope that your trees are safe, Margaret. Spring damage is very hard.

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  3. It's lovely to see the new growth appearing in your garden. The hellebores in our garden have flopped over since the temperatures have fallen. Thank goodness the re-roofing has been carried out before Spring. Sarah x

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    1. I checked yesterday and all was okay but haven't checked today and it's noticeably colder - and been snowing quite heavily on and off throughout the day! Yes, I can't wait until the scaffolding comes down and let's the light in again - my poor houseplants have moved to and from windowsills every day and back again at night to avoid the cold! x

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  4. Some Nerines are poking their noses up in my pots

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    1. I've just been reading about the drought in South Africa so I assume that you have different seasons to the UK, Diana. Nerines are late autumn bulbs here and very pretty - enjoy them while they last!

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  5. An interesting read and good pictures. I've plenty of daffodils showing buds but in view of this weeks weather have probably gone into hibernation waiting for it to get sunnier and warmer. xx

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    1. A few of my daffodils and crocus had actually opened just before the snow flurries came so I doubt they survived. Warmer weather next week if the reports are true so I'll be able to see how everything fared. Fingers crossed, eh? And for your bulbs too, Flighty. xx

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  6. These are awesome pictures! There is really something special with spring. I really can't wait for a warmer weather :)

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    1. Thanks Sam! :) Once the snow clears, spring won't be far behind. I'm looking forward to gardening without a heavy coat and thermal gloves once again!

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  7. I think that everything must have gone into suspended animation this week Caro. It looks like London had a significant snowfall. It will be the frosts and the wind though which will do more damage. I hope that your quince is ok. I was out in the garden last Saturday and wore my new thermal gloves from Briers. They are brilliant. Many thanks for pointing me in their direction :)

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    1. Unusually, yes we had quite a bit of settling snow here, Anna, so there was very little that could be done. Thankfully it's never that bad in a city but I still have fingers crossed for my plants. The agapanthus have wilted dramatically under their topping of snow! I'm so pleased that you've found the gloves useful; I find them invaluable and was also out gardening against the snow deadline last weekend. My feet were eventually very cold but my hands were as warm as toast! xxx

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