05 April 2012


Dark clouds - ragged ends snagged by the hilltops; rain and hail in the garden; S dashing up to the allotment with fleece for the broad beans...

Winter returned with a vengeance this week.

Living in a country where it's not that unusual to see weather from all four seasons in the one day, especially in March and April (the 'shoulder' months) is it any wonder that many of us are preoccupied with the weather? Add to that inbuilt interest a love of gardening and the interest can turn into some sort of obsession. So I find myself checking the Met √Čireann rainfall radar on the phone, hanging a max/min thermometer in the glasshouse and a Dutch barometer in the porch, and generally peering at the sky meaningfully probably more often than I need to. Of course the same goes for those who love photography, hill walking, kayaking, cycling...
Nearly Mooi!
This need to know the forecast reminds me of pre-smart-phone days when "hush! it's the weather forecast" would silence us all at the dinner table as Da--who had grown up on a farm, worked in agriculture all his life and remained a keen gardener and golfer into his late seventies--would strain to hear what the Met guys on the radio were going to say. (And does anyone else remember Michael Dillon and his reports from the marts? When did those disappear?).

Anyway, as predicted correctly by the Met √Čireann folk, winter returned this week and temperatures of -3C, hail, cold rain, sleet and keen winds reminded us all that we can't take the weather for granted. On Wednesday morning, many of the lovely lime-green chestnut leaves lay in sodden tatters on the ground in our park. To anthropomorphise for a moment, there was a distinct air of schadenfreude amongst the nearby ash trees, buds still tightly buttoned up.

The only solace for a frustrated gardener was to head into the glasshouse and sow some peas, runner beans, dahlias, alpine strawberries and corn. Well, I have all that room on the allotment and wouldn't it be lovely to have some fresh corn? It won't be a patch on the Taber corn that we used to buy in sunny Alberta--which was so sweet you could eat it raw off the cob--but it'll be a bit of craic to try it out. Now they just have to germinate: hopefully a warm windowsill at the front of the house will do the trick. Meanwhile, the tomato seedlings have settled into their temporary homes:
Chutney ahead
Winter weather or not though, the inexorable pull of the lengthening days gently tugs the plants along:

False Spikenard, 26 March
False Spikenard, 05 April

Phyllitis, Hart's Tongue (and Schnauzer's Paw)
Let's end this week on a contemplative note. A very short poem from someone who knew a thing or two about weather and melancholy; he'll return again in May, I hope, in better form. I'm certain the birds he's referring to there are blackbirds, whose song I can hear now as I type this in the April dusk. You might like to listen to that blackbird on wiki as you gaze into the pool:
Pool on a still evening (barometer almost at Mooi)
This week's entry is a little early as we'll be away for the weekend. Hope you all have a lovely Easter/Pesach/whatever you're having yerself.

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