March has seen a continuation of the exceptionally dry weather conditions throughout the month and has meant that there is the very real threat of water shortages across the south of England and the promise of hosepipe bans and drought orders. Though not effective yet they are due to come into force in April for domestic use but we should still be able to use hosepipes for watering in the Harris Garden.
The exceptionally mild winter weather finally ended at the end of January and the start of February saw the country enduring a two week spell of freezing temperatures and some snow. There were still plenty of jobs that could be done even though the ground was frozen.
The New Year has started with the weather conditions continuing in much the same vein as they have over the past few months with mild above average temperatures and mainly dry days. This has enabled us to continue the winter work uninterrupted by breaks for bad weather but the plants are starting to show fattening buds as they prepare for an early spring.
The weather has continued to be mild throughout the month with the only cold weather coming in a short spell mid-month when we had a couple of fairly light ground frosts.
The weather forecasters predicted a wet day for the first volunteer Thursday of the month so we arranged to have a morning in the potting shed potting up the bare-rooted plants that had been delivered and to prick out seedling that we had grown ourselves. The day dawned clear and bright with no sign of the rain that had been forecast so we enjoyed the warmth of the potting shed while the sun shone outside.
This month has continued to be unusually mild and mainly dry with the average temperatures above average. This has meant that the autumn leaf colours have lasted nearly all month as some trees have hung onto their foliage and the grass has also continued to grow so the last cut of the season will be in December.
As plant growth slows with the onset of autumn and mowing, edging, hedge trimming, weeding and the other summer maintenance jobs finish it is time to address the planning of the winter’s tasks and then begin the implementation of these plans.
After four wet Thursdays in a row during August leaving the volunteers wet, muddy and wondering what happened to the predicted ‘barbeque summer’ September arrived bringing the glorious sunny days we had hoped for in August. It was as though someone had turned a tap off with the change of month and September turned out to be the warmest on record with day after day of clear skies and hot sun.
The weather has been very changeable during August leaving us wondering where summer went, the plus side has been that the plants have benefitted with the garden looking lush and green instead of the normal for August of scorched lawns and dry borders.
There has been the usual mid-summer lull in the garden when the flush of spring and early summer have passed many of the showy flowering plants have had their moment of glory in the sun. The garden settles down to the heat of summer and many of the flowers are more muted pastel shades and the garden seems quieter in the afternoon heat.
After two months of exceptionally warm, dry weather which saw us all preparing for drought conditions and water shortages June arrived and with it the rain. The garden has had frequent and at times prolonged spells of wet weather that has allowed the garden to ‘green’ up, the wild flower sowings are flowering and I have been able to put away the hose-pipes and sprinklers.