Talk to us here at Rochford Life : 0786 342 7294 or E-mail us
Make a point of visiting us weekly!
Seasonal Reflections: May
THE SEASONS: May Reflections originally written in 2011
Is this Summer? Just recently, at least twice, I’ve heard people asking, “Is this summer?” And the reason for that question? The amount of sunshine we’ve been having (2011). Perhaps it is that we’ve had so much bad weather in recent years that we have forgotten that sometimes we do have long periods without rain and with plenty of sunshine. [I see from our May Editorial that April and May of 2012 were not the same - grey and rain!]
So, no, I’m afraid it’s not summer even though, as far as sunshine is concerned, it may be better than June to August. What a Jeremiah! Time will tell. No, you tell it’s Spring and not Summer, not by the weather but by the plant life around us.
This is the time of year when, historically, we’ve made our way up to Gusted Hall, and wandered the path across ploughed field to “the bluebell wood”, except these days the “bluebell wood” has a fence around it with a nasty little exclusive signs saying “Private Wood - No Trespassing” The sad thing is that a fence isn’t going to keep out anyone determined to get in and do damage. It’s just that the rest of us are excluded. So should you go up there and want to see bluebells just go the first hundred yard walk along the edge of the first woods until you are under cover and there on your left there are still plenty of bluebells. They’re an interesting plant, aren’t they; on their own they are not very spectacular and yet in their hundreds that carpet of blue takes on a hazy magical look. Yes, it’s spring!
If you don’t want to trek out for bluebells, have a look around your garden for Aquilegias. They tend to be a very delicate looking plant that appears year after year. In our experience deep blue or pale violet are the most common colours although you can get reds and yellows. You don’t need to keep their seeds; they will reproduce quite happily on their own, but you may have to buy in fresh colours if they revert back.
So yes, the Aquilegias are coming out, it must be late April or early May. Spring is here – but not summer!
I have commented on these pages before about how slow the Oak tree is to shed its leaves. Well they’re all off now as new buds start pushing out. Spring is well and truly here but not summer because by summer they will all have their new leaves complete.
Which brings us to another sign that we’re still in spring and not yet in summer – many plants have now got new leaves and new growth, but not flowers yet. The Buddleia is a good example of this. Trimmed back last autumn, this plant much loved by butterflies is now in full flowing growth – yet it will carry on growing a lot more yet, but there is already a fullness about it but no sign of flowers. Yes, spring is here – but not summer. It is worth noting that there are a few butterflies around, the cabbage white (obviously!) little blue ones (the common blue?), little orange and white ones (?) and the very occasional larger tortoiseshell. When the butterflies come out in numbers, then we’ll know we’re into summer.
On a lighter note, I like the answer on Yahoo’s answer page that someone wrote in a couple of years ago to, ”When is it Summer?” - I don’t know I’ve been waiting two and a half years for it! I also liked the answer, “I’m not sure but last year it fell on a Wednesday”
Those two summarise our feelings about summer in England, and perhaps explain a little more why I’ve heard twice in recent weeks, the question, “Is this summer?” Well, now you know. Look at the signs and at least they tell you that now is not summer even if it has been sunny. In June, July and August it will be summer, despite the weather! When we get there, we’ll look at some of the signs – apart from the weather – that tell us it is so.
Barbecues and Fans: Well this has been an unusual Spring. I wrote a couple of weeks ago of the confusion about Spring or early Summer, and talked about the signs that it is just still Spring. Well over the last couple of weeks as the sunshine has prevailed, I’ve noticed two other things that go to confuse the aged season watcher – barbecues and fans!
Now I have to confess that I am rubbish at barbecues these days. I haven’t always been. I’ve burnt my fair share of sausages, burgers and chops over the years on real charcoal and on gas fired bricks and I’ve burnt my way through a two little oblong cast iron BBQs, a couple of metal circular ones (the remnants of which keep appearing whenever I have a shed clear out), and a real pukka gas one, so you can see I’ve done my fair share of carbon creation over the years.