Sunday 6 May 2012

A small miracle

I suppose we should almost have got used to the rain by now, after all it has rained for one month and 2 days straight. That, according to the Met Office, makes us qualified to collect the award of wettest April since record began more than a century ago. The rain has also led to unusually low temperatures and the gardens in London where I live are now really late compared to normal years.

I am still waiting for my lilac to flower, my dwarf rhododendron shows no sign of opening its fat buds, I have no roses yet – in May! I can honestly say, this must be the month of the year with the least plants in flower, Januarys included. But I still have May!! Never had that before, and that is thanks to the cold weather, the last daffodils to flower have just not gone off. These are Narcissi Pipit. You should think all this rain would give us lush green gardens everywhere? Well, normally it would, if we had nice temperatures to follow, but it has been cold for the last 6-7 weeks after that brief spell of heat we had mid March. Last night it was 3 degrees when I went to bed and today, in a short period when the rain stopped I braved the cold weather and went out to get a bit done in the garden. I say braved....but I actually pulled out my winter coat from my wardrobe where I had planned to leave it until at least November, and I had 3 jumpers on and woolly mittens on my hands – all this because it was 9 degrees Celsius this afternoon. NINE!! I have had warmer days in my garden in January many times....

OK, so now to the title of this post, if you thought I was going to tell you that it had stopped raining, and that was the miracle....sorry, it is still raining and will still be raining. No, a different kind of miracle has been going on, right under my nose and I could easily have missed it, by not being out in my garden much because of the weather. In 2005 I got 4 small Trilliums, one of each type, a T. grandiflorum, T. cuneatum, T. luteum and a T. erectum. I have written about the Trillium cuneatums before, they are a lovely big clump by now and thoroughly photographed every spring. The T. luteum and T. erectum flowered that first year when I got them, but never came back in subsequent years. Trillium grandiflorum came back a couple of years, but only one plant every time and then I saw nothing more of it. But look here, 7 years after I got it, and 6 years after it should have re-emerged: here is one single Trillium luteum! How on earth it has survived in the ground for all these years without setting leaves and bringing nutrition back to the roots is a mystery to me, but it obviously has managed. When I got these 4 plants they were just tiny, and I planted them well spaced out. Today, after all these years the clump of T. cuneatum is quite big so the luteum is placed just on the margins of that clump and you can see the cuneatums just to the left in the picture. Unfortunately, something has taken a big bite of the luteum (naughty slug!), but it is still very pretty, like a ray of sunshine on top of a ballet tutu. I hope the luteum is here to stay now and hopefully will multiply like the cuneatum has done :-)

And now to the depressing news.... the weather forecast for next week. No surprise here then: rain and more rain. Oh, we might get some sunshine next Sunday, but the forecast changes so quickly that by the time we get to next week-end I bet you it’s changed to rain for Sunday too. And if you live outside Britain and wondered if they have cancelled the hosepipe ban then the answer is no, the drought order is still in place! Apparently, the rain we have had the last 5 weeks has not made up for a shortfall caused by below-average rainfall in 20 of the previous 25 months. The rain we have had has caused floods in many places all over Britain, people have lost their lives, events have been cancelled and there is still a risk of flooding. So even if we have had double the amount of rain in April than average, we still have water shortage and subsequent water restrictions.

Tomorrow there might be a break in the rain around 3-4 pm for a couple of hours according to the forecast; I will be heading outside to continue in my garden as soon as it looks reasonably OK - dressed with as many jumpers as necessary :-) See you next time, take care!


  1. Wow, that is hard to believe! That much rain and you still have a hosepipe ban! Weird, too, that in previous years you were way ahead of me in spring with your blooms, and this year I'm just ahead of you. The Daffodils are long gone and now the late-blooming Lilacs and Irises are blooming. I even noticed buds on the Roses already. I'm sure when your rain lets up, everything will be just gorgeous!

  2. Apparently, the water companies are saying we had the wrong sort of rain in April. I hope they've ordered the correct type for this week.

  3. Ha ha, the wrong sort of rain! Well, I guess you need to live in the UK to understand what's funny about that. But if you live somewhere else you might go to Wikipedia and search for "The wrong type of snow". That's where this expression comes from, and there is actually an article there about it!
    Beth: my garden is so late now I can’t believe it! I keep looking back on my photos from previous years, got records back to 2004 – never been this late. We are certainly due a Barbecue summer, we deserve that after all this cold and rain!

  4. Hi Helene
    I'm sorry to hear it's still so soggy where you live. Look up to the sky and yell: "Enough is enough, already!!" See if that helps :)
    Your trilliums are lovely. You have such unique plants. I look fwd to your posts.


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