Garden Views-04-April 2017

The beginning of April began with a welcome change form the generally grey months of February and March with a week of very sunny conditions, and towards the 8th, the winds switched to the South and temperatures climbed. Spring had arrived! However the clear skies at night meant slight frosts on many mornings. 

Although high pressure continued to dominate, by April 10th, the winds had swung to the North again, and it felt distinctly chilly once more. But great for catching up with burning brush from the winter’s hedging works.The high pressure weather system that dominated for much of the month continued, bringing stable, generally cool conditions into the last quarter of the month with very little rain, when temperatures dropped again into single figures, to usher in a very chilly beginning to May. So the early start to bulb flowering was helped by longer than usual flowering times in later varieties, and once again Camassia leichtlinii overlapped with pale Narcissus to good effect…

Death is never very far from the scene at Gelli Uchaf, and as we waited for our very few planned late lambs this year (we’re still getting a feel for optimum stocking density to manage our meadows for greater floral diversity, and entered 2017 with a total of 22 ewes), and ataxic polecat was noticed wobbling along our terrace paths and later found dead in a meadow – largely untouched as carrion, whilst another Canada goose met an untimely end just beyond our boundary hedge – piles of feathers overnight, and a solitary bird flying in to our pond alerting us to its demise. Swallows returned this year in the valley on April 13 th, but they were very late getting going on nest building – presumably because of a lack of insects in the cool conditions.

In our upper hay meadow it looks like a bumper year for yellow rattle, and the first cowslips flowered from seed scattered just a couple of years ago, though were quickly chomped by something (? rabbits) before I managed to get a decent photo. Marsh Lousewort is now well established, along with Violets on a mossy banked section of this meadow, giving a smattering of pretty pink and purple nectar rich flowers for the early bumblebees.

April 22nd saw fabulous sunshine flooding the scene for most of the day. And in a special day of seasonal firsts, the first Cuckoo, Orange-tip butterfly, Bee Flies and down by the upper pond, an early red damselfly all put in their first appearances, or calls, of 2017…

Thanks for reading.