Make a point of visiting us weekly!        Tell a friend about us. Seasonal Reflections: April (2)

Through 2020 – April

Nature: April has been the month of the leaf!  Green has been the predominant colour! At the beginning of the month the oak tree still had all its leaves from last year. In the second week the leaves started falling. By week three, the buds and potential new leaves were clearly in evidence. By week four the tree was virtually covered with new leaves. Other trees were at later differing stages of transformation with blossom still around at the beginning of the month, but now fully leafed.

The early bulbs have come and gone with tulips reigning for most of the month, but now a poor reminder of what was. Wallflowers have blossomed in profusion. Blue has taken over at the prominent flower colour with the (self-seeded) forget-me-nots in profusion everywhere, and now the (increasing bulb-growth) bluebells in large swathes. The Peony has seen the most outstanding growth in the garden this month which, in our case, has produced enormous yellow budding flowers. The broom bush has now come out with its beautiful colouring and the regal Irises, now showing flower heads coming out, promise to make the coming weeks outstanding. Amazingly two of the four planted out tomato plants have flowers on them and after the rain the broad beans and onions are getting bigger and bigger. Birds are flying everywhere in pairs, there are obviously more than a couple of nests in the garden and signs are that there might even be chicks already.

Weather: If this year has been exceptional at a number of levels, perhaps the most exceptional has been the weather. As one who keeps a gardening/weather diary I note that apart from a light shower overnight on the 18th of this month, the last rain we had was on February 28th and 29th!  March and April have been rainless here – until the 28th!!!! Exactly two month drought!. I emphasise ‘here’ because the weather forecast has shown rain bands crossing the country but they have missed us here in Rochford! (I discount some very light drizzle that lasted less than five minutes one day recently!)

For gardeners it has been hit and miss and I have recorded frosts on the 1st, 4th, 15th, 16th, and 26th and although a number of plants showed signs of being beaten up by the frost, by the end of the month they had all recovered. The big feature has been the sunshine. Over fifteen times I recorded ‘sunny’ which means bright cloudless sunshine all day, plus there were a lot of ‘sunny interval’ days, i.e. mixed sunshine and light cloud.  Although early morning temperatures have often been low, later temperatures with the sunshine have often been in the low to mid-twenties with a high of twenty eight one afternoon! An amazing Spring, which is perhaps why the garden is so far on.

National News: The Virus, the shutdown, consequences, and speculation, have filled the month:

-  3rd – First  NHS Nightingale Hospital opens at Excel Centre London

-  4th – Keir Starmer is elected as the leader of the Labour Party,

-  5th – the Queen broadcasts to the nation

-  5th – Boris Johnson admitted to hospital for tests

-  6th – UK death toll exceeds 5000, number of reported cases nearly 52,000

-  6th – Boris Johnson taken in intensive care

-  9th – Boris Johnson out of intensive care

- 12th – Boris Johnson out of hospital

- 12th – UK hospital death toll passes 10,000

- 16th – 99-year-old war veteran, Tom Moore, raises sum for charity (eventually +£30M) 

- 19th – number of UK cases exceeds 100,000

- 22nd – First ‘virtual’ PM Question time in Parliament

- 22nd – Chief Medical Officer says it is likely the UK will have to live under some disruptive social distancing measures for at least the rest of the year

- 23rd – The first human trial of the virus vaccine started in Oxford  

- 25th – UK hospital death toll passes 20,000

- 27th – Boris Johnson returns to work

- 28th – A minute’s silence at 11am to commemorate those in the NHS who have died from the virus

- 29th – Boris Johnson becomes a father – again

- 29thThe UK death toll from the virus becomes the second highest in Europe at 26,097 (but see deaths as percentage of population figures in ‘Perspectives’ on Mon 27th)

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