Unseasonally early flowers

Posted: Monday 28 April 2014
by Adam Pasco

Looking around my garden, I'm surprised to see a number of plants in full flower weeks before I'd usually expect them to bloom.

Looking around my garden, I'm surprised to see a number of plants in full flower weeks before I'd usually expect them to bloom. Neighbouring gardens are enjoying this early colour too. What an unusual spring we're experiencing, and after such a mild winter too.

Lilac is one of my spring favourites. It reminds me of those growing in our family front garden when I was young. I've been enjoying my fragrant flowers for a couple of weeks now. Checking back at the garden pictures I took last year, my lilac is blooming a full month earlier compared to 2013.

In the past I can remember seeing nursery exhibits at Chelsea (in the third week in May) featuring laburnum adorned by cascades of golden flowers, but they're already in full flower in my area. If any garden is hoping to feature them at Chelsea this year then they'll have to hold them back in cold store for another month.

Apple blossom has been magnificent, but about on track compared to previous years. However, honeysuckle appears early, and I already have sizeable flower buds forming on some rose bushes.

The first blackberry flowers are opening, and there's plenty more to come, while tall flower spikes have already developed on several flag iris. I've even spotted peonies in full flower in the front garden next door. Glorious.

In my area the season has certainly started differently, and the mild weather has encouraged strong new growth on many plants. Delphiniums are surging upwards, so I've popped plant support frames over them far earlier then usual. And the high light levels have meant strong growth on greenhouse crops such as tomatoes. I've already had to pot some of mine into larger pots a couple of times. That's very unusual for me in April.

The Woodland Trust has an interesting feature on its website called 'The Nature's Calendar Survey' - the oldest wildlife survey in the UK. Pay a visit and you'll find a wealth of information about wildlife sightings across the country, and the first flowering of a wide variety of plants. You can even register and start contributing yourself. This calendar highlights the flowering times recorded for different plants, and the Trust has certainly noticed how much earlier plants are flowering this spring.

With such a wonderful start to the year, I'm just enjoying the moment and hoping the weather stays fine. Each day gives me more hope that the cold weather really is behind us, and that sharp frosts and cold winds don't bring this unusually early spring to an end.

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Janette Bilson 28/04/2014 at 14:35

Looking at the weather forecast on Countryfile last night- I think the garden will slow down at the end of this week!

oldchippy 28/04/2014 at 21:07

We have a lilac that has suckered from the next garden,all the forget me not's are going over already ,plants that flower later have lost the plot and are flowering to soon,there wont be much colour left in the garden soon,

philippa smith2 28/04/2014 at 21:16

Seasons have melded together for a good few years now.........things flowers out of season, don't die down, pests abound etc. 

Just more of a challenge to gardeners

Busy Bee2 28/04/2014 at 21:28

On the plus side, the annuals are coming along quickly, and they will be flowering till the first frosts of autumn, so maybe just a long season of them??