Tag Archives: sun

My Spring

Anyone who has been reading this blog recently will be aware that I already photographed flowering crocuses in my garden. However, these crocuses were only planted last autumn and their behaviour could be dependent on a number of factors. But, now there is a much more important crocus flowering in my garden:

Early Crocus photographed today, and the best indicator of the beginning of spring.
Early Crocus photographed today, and the best indicator of the beginning of spring.

Since the blog began a few years ago, some of you might remember that the plants I normally use as the definitive marker of spring are a small number of Early Crocuses (Crocus tommasinianus). I studied these flowers for a decade (among a number of other possible spring markers) and discovered that they were the very best indicators of an end to snow and the beginning of spring weather. Unfortunately due to an incredibly mild winter last year I didn’t see them at all, possibly because they bloomed earlier than I was expecting them to do. And then a family-member dug a flowerbed very near to where they usually grew, so I suspected these crocuses had been accidentally dug up.

Fortunately, today I just happened to be in the garden when I spotted one newly blooming Early Crocus with another flower nearby just about to unfurl. Even in some of our snowiest years they flowered earlier than this date in February. Now is roughly a week earlier than they normally begin appearing, according to most field guides. With that in mind I think I can say it is a more typical spring, and good weather is finally, and reliably on the way following over a week of rain.

The Earliest Spring Ever!

Last night we had a severe frost in Wicklow, but it seems the plants have decided, for whatever reason, that spring is here to stay. I have never seen anything quite like it. On New Year’s Day I found Bluebells throwing the leaf-litter off and raising their juicy leaves to the sun.

Bluebell leaves …on New Years Day!

And not only were the daffodils up, but irises had poked their blade-like leaves through the soil, and the crocuses were not only well up above ground but some now have flowers on the verge of opening.

A crocus about to blossom, as I photographed it yesterday.

Okay, so maybe you’re thinking these impetuous plants are mistaken: crocuses can sometimes bloom in the snow, as can primroses, and daffodils often make mistakes. Fair enough arguments, but have you ever seen cherry blossom in January? There are certain October-flowering Cherry trees, but not January ones, and the pair of cherries growing out front of the church (opposite the petrol station) in Newcastle village would seem to me to be the typical spring variety. True, they are in sunny areas, but covered in blossoms and being attended by big Bumble Bees. Incredible!


One of the blossoming cherries outside the church on Newcastle main street.
A close-up of the beautiful blossoms, with bees in there somewhere.

According to the weather forecasters we are in for another week of cold frosty nights and mostly clear sunny days, so winter is certainly not done with us yet. But spring is here, whatever the weather. And just to end, keep an eye out for the beautiful feather-duster like, aniseed-scented blooms of the Winter Heliotrope. They are in abundance this year, and they have to be as there is so much competition.

Winter Heliotrope flies the flag for winter, while it still can.

And after a great 2012, with the massive successes of Wicklow boxer Katie Taylor and cross-country runner Fionnuala Britton, it seems the very landscape itself has decided to throw a celebratory party. 2013 is off to an awesome start.