Nation of Gardeners results: the weather

Rain soaked brown irises in Bristol

Rain soaked brown irises in Bristol

May 2014

May has been warm and sunny, bringing us a foretaste of summer with many sunny days that have had the temperatures around the UK soaring.

Early in May the UK even had sensational predictions of a heatwave across the country.  It did get very warm at times, and certainly it was warm enough to cast off overcoats and don t-shirts instead.  But any true ‘heatwave’ weather was mostly confined to more southerly parts of the country.

However, it has not all been sunshine and warmth in May.  As well as a couple of hard frosts early in the month in some areas, there have been rainy periods and heavy thunderstorms too.   The frosts came overnight after what had been clear and sunny days, so tender plants were at risk if anyone had chanced to put them out early in May.

The heavy rain served to replenish depleted stocks in water butts at least!  And as all gardeners will stand testament to, after sunny dry spells, it is a welcome sight to see the clouds above doing the job of watering for a change!

 

Bumblebee enjoying the April sunshine in Pontypridd

Bumblebee enjoying the April sunshine in Pontypridd

April 2014

April has been a sunny and cheery month that has been dominated by a very warm Easter weekend.  All of our gardeners across the UK saw sunshine and felt warmth on their skin this month, which had them busily potting on, planting out and digging over.

Our gardener in Pontypridd posted this wonderful picture of a bumblebee basking in the sunshine in his garden, whereas our gardener in Buckinghamshire reported a sighting of a hummingbird hawk moth which is a rare treat indeed.

The sunny spells started to dry out top soil, especially in the south of the UK and so the showers that came later in April were welcomed to help along with the task of watering.

 

Signs of spring in our Suffolk gardener's plot

Signs of spring in our Suffolk gardener’s plot

March 2014

The second week of March was positively balmy for the time of year with an unbroken spell of high pressure and sunshine that has produced a stable environment for waking up all those spring bulbs in the garden once and for all.

Although March had a sting in its tail during the final week, people’s gardens around the UK have burst into colourful displays, and it finally feels as if the worst of the weather is behind us and that we can finally call this our Spring.

 

 

February 2014

Flooded garden in Renfrewshire

Flooded garden in Renfrewshire

The first two weeks of February were very wet and stormy with the period being branded by the media as “the wettest in anyone’s living memory“.  Large parts of the South became flooded, with thousands of people having to leave their homes, or having to be rescued from sudden rising water.  On the coast in particular, villages and towns were hit by both unprecedented rainfall and hurricane force gusts of wind.  These conditions have devastated some sea fronts with waves bringing shingle and sand onto roads, and even some home-owners waking to find stranded seals in their front gardens.

It is in this context that our Nation of Gardeners have suffered only superficial damage during this time.  Standing water, waterlogged ground drowning plants and branches being brought down from trees into gardens is trivial in comparison.

 

January 2014

January started with a continued storm battering across the country.  Coastal areas around the UK were badly damaged by flooding and breaches of the sea defences in many seaside towns and villages.  Although our Nation of Gardeners managed to come through unscathed – including our gardener at sea level in Ilfracombe in Devon – the soil in many’s gardens has become compacted and waterlogged by the continual battering from the rains.

On the positive side, the rain and storms have been accompanied by unseasonably mild weather meaning the plants in our Nation of Gardeners’ gardens are doing well and growing much more rapidly than they otherwise would do.

As if to prove the thorough soaking the UK got in January, our Pontypridd gardener gathered the data from his weather station to describe this picture, “A total of 352mm of rain fell in Pontypridd in January there were only 2 dry days the 12th and 19th the highest temperature was 12.9 degrees and the lowest was -1 degrees.”  Our Suffolk gardener, who also has a weather station added, “Rain fall for the month was 81.5mm. Last year Jan had 45.2mm. Only had one day with no rain- the 18th. Highest temp was 12.8C on the 6th and the coldest was -2.6C on the 12th.”

December 2013

November finished feeling fairly mild, and although there were hard frosts and very cold snaps, the start of December was generally mild too following the storms and tidal surge in the East of England on 5 December.

December skies in Hertfordshire

December skies in Hertfordshire

Happily, our gardeners escaped without any lasting devastation to their gardens, though they did get shaken about quite a bit!

Swinging between mild and warm conditions for the time of year, and stormy and windy became the pattern for the month.  The winds were so strong that there was regular reporting in the media on damage to trees and buildings – including the ceiling of the Apollo Theatre in London collapsing due to heavy rain.  There was also widespread disruption to transport systems as the nation struggled to cope with the wet and windy weather.

The storms came back with a vengeance in a band across the south and the north of the UK on 23 December, with turbulent weather causing significant damage across large areas of the UK.  The storms – and all the havoc they wreaked – stayed with us throughout the festive period causing widespread storm-damage across the country.

 

November 2013

Frosts in Ceredigion Wales

Frosts in Ceredigion, Wales

First frosts were reported in a range of places during early November as the storms of St Jude were replaced by cooler, cloud-free nights.

  • Buckinghamshire – 1 November
  • Cheshire – 2 November
  • Derbyshire (241m above sea level) – 4 November
  • Renfrewshire – 5 November
  • Worcestershire – 6 November
  • Ceredigion – 7 November
  • Suffolk – 9 November
  • Hertfordshire – 11 November
  • Cumbria – 12 November
  • Pontypridd – 13 November
  • Bristol – 13 November
  • Gloucestershire – 13 November
  • North Devon – 23 November

The rain was falling as hail in the Peak District on 9 November; the first snows swiftly followed for some with snow on 18 November in Renfrewshire and Ceredigion and hail showers in Devon this date too.

Our gardeners in Pontypridd and Suffolk are also able to give us an overview of the general weather conditions from their weather stations.

In November in Pontypridd there was 134mm of rain, and the highest temperature was 16 degrees C which was reached on two days in the month – the 6th and 11th.  The lowest temperature was zero degrees C and there were frosts on 6 occasions.  Of the 30 days in November, 9 were completely dry and there was rainfall on the other 21 days ranging from 1mm to 29mm.

Over in Suffolk our gardener there reports that the weather hit a maximum temperature of 15.1 degrees C and a minimum of  -1.8 degrees C.  Though the weather has been thought to be generally mild, these results are very similar to last year’s results for this gardener.  The mean temperature for  the month was 6.3 degrees C, just slightly colder than the same period in 2012.  And finally, rainfall in Suffolk totaled 53.9 mm which was much drier than 2012’s 82mm.

 

Autumnal scenes from North Devon

An autumnal scene from North Devon

October 2013

October was a mild month for all areas of the UK which was great for speedy germination and growing on of the October shipment the gardeners received in mid-October.  In Bristol, our triallist there spoke of not having need to close her coldframe lid right through the month as the conditions had been so mild.  Others also added that it seemed unseasonably mild for the time of year, but no one was complaining!

We are lucky that our Suffolk gardener has a weather station in her garden and so she was able to report to us that in October in her locality a maximum temperature of 21.5 degrees C was reached and the low was 4.1 degrees C.  There was also 110.6mm rainfall in that locality that month.

Our gardener in Pontypridd reported that the weather in his area saw total rain fall of 159mm, with the 28th of October having 38mm in one day. Maximum Temp was 19 degree’s on the 2nd, 6th & 22nd and the lowest was 4 degrees on 4th, 15th & 30th. Of the 31 days in October 7 were totally dry.

Most significantly, all of the south of the country and up through to southerly parts of the Midlands were affected by the St Jude storms in the last week of October.

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