Wednesday, 3 April 2013

A very strange winter

Many people will wonder why the UK has so many problems given it has mild winters and limited rain fall. In pure numbers this is true; I expect only one or two lows of -8c a year, maybe 2 - 4 days with snow on the ground, and in terms of rainfall London only gets on average around 600mm a year. Compare this to many parts of the USA and you would think London wouldn't have problems.

Last summer and this winter have highlighted exactly what sets the UK apart; our weather does not stick to seasonal patterns as would be expected.  Most of the world have a colder "winter" a warmer "summer" and period of change between.  It is with great envy that I read blogs from the USA in which it is "declared that summer is here" and that is it, the next few months are filled with posts about sun, and heat.  While we do not get extreme cold, or extreme wet, we get more constant cold and wet than other places.  We don't get massive thunderstorms, but days or weeks of light rain. The hottest month of the year can almost be any month between March - September.  Last year was an extreme example, we had a drought from January - May and then floods for the rest of the summer. I understand it is the joy of being a small island.

For me, the lack of an extended period of heat over summer not only reduces growth but also means the plants are less able to cope with winter cold. It can also make this time of year more than a little depressing with week after week of cold and damp (not proper rain). In some respects we have had a very mild winter in London, no real cold and only one period of snow which did not stay around for long.  But then it has also not warmed up as it should do and March has been one of the coldest on record.  So it is a real treat to have had two whole days with no rain and even periods of sun.  Today was the first day of the year it has been warm enough to spend any real time in the garden and so I made the most of it.

Having dug up the dry bed I was concerned that the plants would suffer in pots.  Along with the agaves and yuccas a few of the other plants were removed, including this eremurus stenophyllus. So I was please to find not only new shoots, but more than previous years. It does not seem to mind being in the pot.

So with some sun, and new shoots I could almost believe that we may finally be moving out of winter. Now if only we could move quickly into a nice warm summer.


  1. I'll pray for a nice warm deserve it.

    1. Thank you, if the long term forecasts published today are to be believed we are in for another cold and wet summer.