Unseasonal weather

by Kate Bradbury

In just 12 months my garden has experienced heavy snow, a spring heatwave followed by a drab, damp summer, then a second heatwave in autumn.

Cherry blossomWhat an odd assortment of weather we've had this year. In just 12 months my garden has experienced heavy snow, a spring heatwave followed by a drab, damp summer, then a second heatwave in autumn. Some parts of the country have experienced drought, while others have flooded. No wonder the plants are confused.

In September, the RHS reported that the unseasonably warm weather was causing plants to flower later than usual, sometimes causing them to bloom again. This was down to climate change, according to Chief Horticultural Advisor Guy Barter. The growing season is getting longer, and plants are simply taking advantage.

I don't know if my spring-flowering cherry is blooming late, or early. But not only is it in flower, it's also produced a second flush of leaves, having lost them during the autumnal summer. It's nice to look at, but I do wonder how it will get on in spring, as it doesn't appear to have any flower or leaf buds left. Will it lose its leaves again or take them through winter? Will it flower later next year or miraculously bloom on time? I can't wait to find out.

My spring-flowering cherry isn't the only confused plant in my garden, 'exploiting' of the weather. Among the asters and rudbeckias are the last of the cranesbill geraniums and hollyhocks, and a lone foxglove! On the allotment, we still have strawberries, blackberries, raspberries and beans.

It's all very well having cheery flowers, and being able to pick strawberries and raspberries in November, but I hope this doesn't happen every year. I like the seasons - I look forward to them and patiently wait for them, denying myself fruit until I've first tasted that which I've grown. For me, strawberries and raspberries are a summer luxury. I don't want them in November, not from the supermarket or my allotment. In November I want mists, cooking apples, fallen leaves and hoar frosts please.

My daffodils are showing signs of bursting into growth. I just hope the primroses don't start into bloom. What, then would I have to look forward to during winter?

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Gardeners' World Web User 11/11/2011 at 13:50

Primroses galore and primulas and wallflowers in my garden,Kate, so I am looking forward to my snowdrops. Some of the perennials like valerian have a foot of new growth on them. They say variety is the spice of life so we should welcome the change but there is something so comforting in the four seasons, I agree. When visitors admire, say the autumn colour, in the Botanic Garden I usually reply - oh, do visit as least once a season because there is always something spectacular. On Thursday it was the buttercup yellow of the leaves on the tulip tree and the Gingko biloba - spellbinding and in season!

Gardeners' World Web User 11/11/2011 at 14:17

My very confused rhododendron has burst into flower at the end of October, and is still looking beautiful. I expect it will be at the expense of flowering next spring though

Gardeners' World Web User 11/11/2011 at 15:37

I've still got Sweet Peas flowering away, I haven't seen any bulbs coming up thank goodness. I try to put the garden to bed for the winter but plants just keep on going.

Gardeners' World Web User 11/11/2011 at 22:26

I have been very worried over my Spring bulbs, as they have all sprouted at least a few inches clear of the soil... I do hope they will make it into flower again in the spring... Very unexpected in the West Midlands in November! And I couldn't agree more, I look forward to each new seasons arrival too. It's actually quite disappointing now they have become so blurred. I hope next year we can have a return to normal service... At the moment I even have a Clematis Montana still going strong!

Gardeners' World Web User 12/11/2011 at 14:01

I am so pleased to discover other gardeners are experiencing abnormal growth in their gardens. My lovely small crab apple tree, covered in delightful red apples the size of hips, has started blossoming on every twig. Do I prune early or wait for frosts, assuming we have any,then hope all will return to normal next year?

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