I wasn’t whingeing…It really was the coldest April in 99 years

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No alliums out in our part of Shropshire yet, though there are frosted leaf tips and a few tightly closed buds just showing. Still, when they do come, they really can’t be beaten for early season purple, and purple is this month’s Life in Colour choice at Jude’s Travel Words blog (link below).

Jude and I have also been muttering about the weather in April. At one point we both wondered whether it was growing older than made us think it was colder. But no! Now we have the evidence. The UK Met Office report:

April 2021 had the lowest average minimum temperatures for April in the UK since 1922, as air frost and clear conditions combined for a frost-laden, chilly month, despite long hours of sunshine.

Early provisional figures from the Met Office’s National Climate Information Centre indicate that April had the third lowest average UK minimum temperature for the month since records began in 1884, while Wales, Scotland and England all reported their figures in their top five lowest ever recorded. Average daily maximum temperatures were also below normal, but not by as much as the minimum temperatures.

It had already been reported that April had seen its highest level of air frost in 60 years, with an average of 13 days of air frost topping the previous record figure of 11 days in 1970 (records for air frost go back to 1960). This number of air frosts is more typical for December, January or February, whereas the average number of air frosts in April is five days. For gardeners and growers there were also a record high number of ground frosts with 22 days this month compared to an average of 12 days.

And so while we’re waiting for warmer days and nights and for the alliums to happen, here are some archive allium shots to be going on with:

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Life in Colour: Purple

Today ~ Airing My Clean Laundry In Public and A Storm Rising

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As I write this, having just hung out the washing (and taken the photo), Storm Ali is whisking his coattails across Shropshire. The odd thing is, despite all the buffeting and bluster, it is really warm outside. The forecasters tell us the wind is set to build here tonight, though Scotland and the North West look to be in for the worst of it. My heart goes out to all the storm-beleaguered souls around the planet.

In the Pink

Watching Snow Blow ~ The Bedroom Movie

 

March first and the Snow Dragons of Winter were unleashed over Shropshire – huffing and puffing great gusts of iciness over the land. Oddly, there wasn’t a heavy fall, and the flakes were very dry, but they did a lot of travelling. In the night the dragons racketed and roared over the roof and blew all the field snow into heaps behind the house.

This movie of blowing snow was shot from the bedroom window yesterday afternoon. Today we have slushy roads and biting winds. Who let Siberia in?

copyright 2018 Tish Farrell

 

When Ophelia Came To Wenlock ~ Red Sun At Noon

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By way of a brief intermission from the on going Greek series, here is the sun over our Shropshire garden at around midday yesterday. The tail end of Hurricane Ophelia had apparently whipped up the dust of Africa along with the ash from the tragic forest fires in Portugal and Spain and so created this apocalyptic orange twilight complete with rosy sun. Nothing to do with us of course, all this global mayhem.

 

WPC: Glow

Trying Not To Dig The Plot And 30 Minutes Of Weird Weather

On a very dull Tuesday afternoon I thought I’d brave the cold wind and walk across the field to the allotment. On went the woolly hat, quilted coat (over three layers) and the wellies.

Unsurprisingly I had the allotment to myself – not another mad gardener in sight. I set about emptying one of the compost bins, and spreading the contents  (a hand’s width deep) over a metre wide stretch of ground that had been cleared of over-wintering sprouts and broccoli. It seemed a good day to do it, and I was glad I had prised myself from the house.

This year I’m experimenting with the ‘no dig’ system of cultivation, so apart from tweaking out one or two noxious weeds, I resisted the temptation to get out my favourite spade. The objective is to cover the soil with enough interesting organic matter to excite the worms in the soil below. They then do the digging, and other soil-friendly organisms get going too so that, hopefully, the later seasons’ crops – cabbages and sweet corn – can be planted out on the much improved, and better nourished ground.

I was thus in the middle of this very absorbing activity when someone upstairs switched off the lights and I turned to find a tempest sneaking up on me.

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Yikes! By the time I had scooted across the plot to the shelter of my polytunnel, we were having a small, but very concentrated snow and hail blizzard. It was far too stormy to think of making for home. Instead, I  pottered about in my tunnel sowing some purple Brussels sprouts seeds in modules,  while trying to remain hopeful that this truly was a passing squall and not the heavens falling in as the heavyweight clouds suggested.

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I forgot to record the actual blizzard that followed, so here are some Précoce de Louviers  pointy spring cabbages that are growing most happily in the tunnel.

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When I stuck my nose out of the tunnel some twenty minutes later, this was the view over Much Wenlock:

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By which time it was too late, and the ground too wet to go back to compost spreading.  As I walked home across the allotment, I watched strange, but less threatening clouds gather over the hills:

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And when I stepped through the hedge into the wheat field behind our house, the sky looked as if butter wouldn’t melt in its mouth: snowstorm, what snowstorm?

Clearly the figment of a delusional, non-digging gardener then:

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copyright Tish Farrell 2016