Thursday, 5 May 2011

Was that our Summer?

At last it seems as if we might be about to get some rain!

This Spring we've had weather in the UK that would normally be very welcome in 'Summer'. Practically the only cloudy day was the day of the Royal Wedding!

The plants in my garden are all well ahead. I looked back at last year's blog posts to check if things were really as early flowering as they seemed. And yes, this post from last year about 'Gardening on a Shoestring' shows my 'Dreaming Spires' rose starting to bloom at the end of May. Whereas the photo below is from the last day of April, this year!


Last year I was anxious about whether my 'Albertine' rose would be out in time for my birthday in June, as usual, but this year it's already begun to bloom, though most of the flowers are too high to photograph easily. Last year I hung out of the bedroom window to take the photos but I'd have to move the tomato plants from the window sill this year as it's still too cold at night to plant them outdoors.

Yesterday I noticed that my second 'Dreaming Spires', planted a year later than the first one, has finally reached the top of the 6ft garden wall and is peeping over onto the pavement, in spite of competition from the honeysuckle! When I visited some friends in Wiltshire a few years ago and went for a walk around their village, I was impressed by the way so many of the houses had great swathes of roses draped over their high walls for passers-by to enjoy. And now, at last, mine are nearly there too!

This April was the warmest in the UK since records began and the southern half of the UK has only had about 10% of its usual rainfall. I've been pleased to be able to wash curtains and covers and have them dry outdoors in a few hours. But there have been disadvantages to this long dry and sunny spell with temperatures that we would normally be very pleased to see in August.

Apart from the 'smog' that was a problem over the Easter Weekend and everyone, including myself, suffering more than usual from 'hay fever' symptoms, there have been wild-fires in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales - and now in England! I heard on the news a couple of nights ago that there were currently more than 300 grass and forest fires raging in South Wales alone, fire-fighting efforts being hampered by the stiff breeze that got up earlier in the week. It seems almost incredible to see footage of helicopters dumping water on the fires, especially so early in the year!

Reservoirs are very low - though hosepipe bans haven't yet been mentioned - and farmers are very worried about their crops because of the lack of rainfall. This will quite possibly result in even higher food prices than we already have!

I'm convinced that the next few months will be our usual summer diet of one or two sunny days, followed by a week or more of rain! We all try very hard to pretend it's Summer but I have memories of many family Summer holidays spent largely huddled in a steamed up car, eating our picnic and saying hopefully, 'I think it's brightening up over there!'

But maybe there are reasons we should be grateful for our usual damp to downright wet Summer weather. For me it means less time Spring-cleaning and gardening - and more time for painting. And that's something to treasure!


art2cee2 said...

Our weather here in Va. has been rain, cool, sun, hot, back and forth for over a month now. It just can't decided whether it wants to be spring or summer. The flowers (from all the rain) are taking off like gangbusters. :-)

Judy Adamson said...

Hi Crystal - what you're experiencing sounds very much like our normal Summer weather!

Country Mouse Studio said...

yes we always have to pay for that warm weather, we had similar the last two years, too much heat followed by fires.
This year so far we may get frost bite instead. Beautiful roses, I've always heard they were great over there.

Judy Adamson said...

We had a little bit of rain yesterday but now it's warmer again and slightly humid. Thunderstorms forecast for the weekend and we could really do with a good downpour!