April 2022 – Is It Summer Yet?

The picture is of my two magnolia bushes blooming in the warm March sunshine. I freely admit to not being very good with plant names, but I believe that the white variety, on the left, is Magnolia Stellata.

The sun has been shining for the latter part of March and it has been reasonably warm too. It has brought on many flowers, including daffodils. However, my daffodils have been a bit of mixed bag, with some looking resplendent and others a little dishevelled. Unfortunately, the flower heads of the latter have been eaten by something in the night.

I have never experienced this before so, I googled what could possibly be finding my daffs so delicious. It turned out that the culprit could very well be an interloper to these Isles - The Spanish Slug. Apparently, they tend to be active earlier in the year than our native variety and make a beeline for any flower that happens to be available. Some gardeners say that the "tete a tete" variety is a little more resilient to their hungry advances, but another person wrote that those none native slugs had gobbled up all his. Clearly, no one had told the slug about tete a tete being unpleasant to eat. Either way, next year I’ll be ready for them.

The lovely weather has meant that I could spend more time up at allotment 23. I’ve planted my red and white onions and all my early seed potatoes. I’ve even prepared the bed where I want to plant dahlias, sweet peas, sunflowers and runner beans but not getting too carried away by planting anything tender just yet. I just hope that I can get everything in!

It’s a good job that I didn’t get carried away because, as is always the case in England, sunny warm weather never lasts and today it’s cold, blustery and snowing. Probably the ground is too warm for it to settle and cause any disruption but it’s still a bit of a rude awakening. I always think it sad that the plants are encouraged to blossom early because of the warm weather only to be ruined by cold frosts a couple of weeks later. I can’t protect the flowers on the magnolias as the trees are too big, but I have covered other plants where possible and all my tender seedlings are either in the house or a cosy greenhouse.

The cold weather won’t last forever and the last week or so has been, what I hope anyway, a taster for a lovely summer ahead. However, it’s wise not to put thick jumpers away just yet because, as the proverb says,n'er cast a clout till May is out” (it is said that “May” refers to the flower and not the month).

Have a lovely time enjoying those hot cross buns and chocolate eggs (if not the weather). I did see a rabbit in Hargate Forest the other day!

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