Garden Views-03-March 2020

After the wettest February on record in the UK, what a treat to wake up to St. David’s day, March 1st, dawning bright and sunny!

Even if we did get a few showers later on…
Wonderful to see all the fresh greens and the flowers that had survived 357 mm of February rain and 3 named storms on the last 3 weekends of the month, and emerging, if not unscathed, then still vibrant …

After such a lovely beginning, we were back to mainly grey skies and variable amounts of rain, which persisted until March 20th, when at last and quite suddenly, the rain stopped, the sun shone and we then enjoyed one of the most wonderful sustained spells of spring weather I can recall here.

What a delight at last to be woken, as the clocks sprang forward with the orange glow of sunshine streaming through bedroom curtains – a sadly all to rare occurrence this winter.

Temperatures weren’t all that warm, and later in the spell strong easterly or Northeasterly winds made it very chilly if one wasn’t active outside.

But with the Corvid-19 crisis exploding through the month, with a lock down and movement restrictions brought in on March 23rd, we were very grateful to be living where we do, and still being able to get out and about on the ebikes for some healthy exercise.

The garden looked lovely throughout this spell, and was typically enlivened with much bumble and honey bee activity.

The butterchurn hive continued to be active in spite of low temperatures and strong winds… but the other late season swarm showed no sign of life, so I took the hive apart and was pleased to be able to salvage quite a bit of honey from it, although it had only moved in, in late June, even though central sections of uncapped honey had begun to go mouldy.

The bees had dies with heads stuck in cells, probably a resuIt of cold and too much condensation in the hive, so I spent the latter part of the month retrofitting cork insulation to most of the homemade hives.

The upper hay meadow Snakeshead Fritillaries began to emerge in numbers, with many showing signs of bulking up – a huge relief to find these Dutch origin bulbs are capabe of coping with our upland meadow and what turned out to be a very dry spell last summer. Having realised the potential for rabbits nipping off the flowers, and with so much dry weather, regular night time pee dribbling (from a watering can) walks around the mown path seem to be doing the trick and preventing too much decapitation so far. We were also able to restock the recently built  house log stores, so end the winter period with a rationalised and adequate wood store for the first time in a couple of years.

 

An additional oddity for the month, along with little traffic noise or jey activity at the end of the month, was seeing the hill opposite which rises to 1000 feet, having a crop of silage taken and big baled for dairy cows kept several miles away on March 26th !

The month finished on a high note with yet another wonderful sunny day, although once more the temperatures were decidedly chilly with a brisk North Easterly wind. The PV total of 362 KWH  for the month reflected the wonderful last 10 days, and was very good for March, and at last after a wet first half, the final rainfall total came in at 127 mm. Not a low total, but the first month since August last year when we’ve not had over 200 mm!