As the days shorten and the temperature drops, there is a feeling of Autumn in the air. The Garden is still vibrant, but here and there she is showing her age –the withered leaves at the base of day lilies, crocosmia with strings of bead-like seed pods. And in the last week the grass has been mown beneath the crab apples and the Turkey oaks.
It is the first weekend of Spring… and snow is falling. Despite the cold, grey Winter there have been volunteers in the Garden every week. On Thursday there is an average of 12 people. On many other days volunteers come in to do specific tasks. Students have helped Pete on Wednesdays. Volunteers continue to make labels. Digitalis seeds are being germinated to be planted later.
The weather has continued in the same vein as the first half of the year meaning we have seen a lot of rain and not a lot of sunshine with no long, hot, dry spells. This has benefitted all the newly planted areas which have thrived producing plenty of lush growth and extremely long flowering periods especially in the herbaceous borders.
The weather this month has come in two distinct segments with the first two weeks bringing almost constant gloomy, wet weather day after day then the skies cleared to allow some sunshine and drier weather in the second half of the month.
The weather has been pretty changeable this month with below average temperatures and above average rainfall. Enough rain has fallen in May and June to even convince the Environment Agency to lift the water and hosepipe restrictions.
There were two Open Days planned for this month. The first was organised by the Friends of the Harris Garden on April 15th to raised money for charity, the weather was fine though a little chilly and numbers were down on previous years attendances. The second was due for Sunday 29th and was organised by the University but unfortunately the weather in the week leading up to the day was very wet and then the weather on the day was absolutely atrocious forcing the event to be cancelled which was disappointing but unavoidable. Maybe it can be rescheduled for later in the year.
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.