Climate Confusion

Snowdrops at Dyrham Park
Snowdrops at Dyrham Park

As some will know, it has been a record wet December with unseasonably mild temperatures.  One of the consequences of these conditions is the early arrival of various flowers such as snowdrops, which are the first to arrive followed by the daffodils.  These, and other blossoms have emerged as we saw at both Westonbirt Arboretum and at Dyrham Park.  It was still December, just, when I snapped the snowdrops in the latter.

But now suddenly we have the first real cold snap of the winter as freezing cold air has flowed down from the Arctic bringing sub-zero temperatures for last few days.  So now I am wondering what will happen to some of these early arrivals.  The cold spell is due to end tomorrow so with any luck these early bloomers will survive.  They must have got quite a shock as temperatures were sub-zero overnight.

Rhododendrons blooming at Westonbirt

Then I wondered if indeed they were early, not being much of a horticulturist myself, so I asked Mr Google and the interesting thing was that the first set of articles that turned up were reporting the same event happening back in 2012 which had a similarly mild winter.  It seems that opinions differ slightly over exactly when these bulbs should appear ranging from early January to as late as February for snowdrops and as early as February or as late as Easter – which itself is highly variable being the first Sunday after the full moon (the Paschal Full Moon) after the 21st March spring equinox so that the date of Easter Sunday therefore varies between 22nd March and 25th April!!?? –   for daffodils.  Either way I think it is safe to say that both are early this year and that it is due to another exceptionally mild winter.  Similarly, rhododendrons generally wait until spring, that is to say early March, to bloom but we saw them in early January at Westonbirt.  In 2008, the Autumn was so mild that rhododendrons took the opportunity to flower a second time before winter arrived.  This warming thing seems to have been going on for a while now!

Here are some daffodils in Henrietta Park which is one of Bath’s “hidden gems”, which is to say not on the tourist trail despite being very close to it.  We often walk through it on our way back from town.  Note the proximity of the daffodils and the frosting.

Daffodils and Frost in Henrietta Park, Bath
 2016-01-20 15.05.02  2016-01-20 14.59.39
 2016-01-20 15.01.06  2016-01-20 15.03.23

6 thoughts on “Climate Confusion

  1. Everything Will Be Okay at the End January 21, 2016 / 5:11 pm

    I talked to my friend in Warsaw a couple of weeks ago and she told me that on a parapet of her office window there was a bird building a nest and then laying eggs in it!!! This is what I call anomaly… It’s -8 degrees at night in Warsaw tonight, and -4 degrees during the day…


    • Toby the Cat January 21, 2016 / 5:42 pm

      That’s pretty cold. But when should the bird being laying eggs? Is that normal or abnormal? What are normal winter temperatures in Warsaw? Sorry for the questions.


      • Everything Will Be Okay at the End January 21, 2016 / 7:42 pm

        That’s very abnormal because in such temperatures young ones don’t have much chance of survival. And now all little worms and bugs are hibernating deep down in the soil covered by a layer of snow. So food is scarce… Building nests normaly starts in the spring, maybe around April?…

        Liked by 1 person

        • Toby the Cat January 21, 2016 / 10:04 pm

          So if it is that cold how did they become confused? Has it been warmer and then turned cold?


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