Sunday, 22 January 2012

You're early!

Much has already been discussed this winter regarding the weather, and how last month was one of, if not the warmest, Decembers of all times. Most of the time we've been covered in a blanket of grey: misty grey, cloudy grey, rainy grey but most definitely grey! The season of grisaille ....

snowdrops

Every so often just to remind us of what we're not having, the weather gods have thrown in a day of glorious blue skies and sun. Earlier in the week we even had some frost; not much, just a day or two, but now it's back to grisaille and the warmer than average temperatures.

snowdrops and budding daffs

It has confused our plants. The snowdrops have been in flower for some time. Our daffodils and narcissi have large fat buds and the poor Japanese quince is partly in flower. Last year the daffodils were at this stage in late-ish February.

fat flower buds

It has also confused a very unwelcome visitor - the pine processionary catepillar. We really really do not like these! They can be dangerous for dogs and cats and humans too can be affected. They cause an allergic reaction and Antoinette reacts strongly, we wrote about them here. This year they too have come out too early and we have seen the occasional procession since December. On the plus side is the hope that the more that appear now, and --hopefully-- die, the less will appear when the weather improves and we begin to think about sitting outside.

Japanese quince

Weather wise we wonder what next? A freak snow storm? Or some nice sun? Or more grey...

22 comments:

Food, Fun and Life in the Charente said...

I keep thinking this is the lull before the storm! Now we are nearly at the end of January I am wondering what is going on. Our snowdrops, daffodils and bluebells are way ahead of schedule. It is a very odd year. Our cherry trees were flowering before Christmas but no fruit, I hope they will flower again in April/May. I have seen no caterpillars thank goodness. Diane

Susan said...

As our woodman said the other day - February hasn't happened yet...

I've just come back from the river, where I found that someone has dumped a load of processionary caterpillar nests in a ditch, at its confluence with the river. Not an ideal way of disposing of them, especially as they most likely doused them with insecticide first.

I've recently added a post about them to Loire Valley Nature - Antoinette's arm and a couple of your nests feature :-)

The Broad said...

I just looked up these caterpillars as I'd not heard of them before! They sound quite horrible... I will keep a look out for them when we get to our house in the Lot. I do wonder if we will ever see the seasons as they were -- it's hard to believe how different it is this year from last and that from the year before. The natural world is soooo confused!

the fly in the web said...

I found that the seasons started to get 'disordered' over the last eight years or so before we left...plants didn't know what to do with themselves!

GaynorB said...

I don't mind cold weather, it's the damp, dull, grey and rainy weather which depresses me.

I don't think winter is over yet, and worry for some of the plants that have been 'duped' by the conditions.

Lovely pics. I wonder what our garden in LP-P is like? Roll on April ...

Niall & Antoinette said...

@Diane - we keep expecting some 'proper' winter weather as well but it just isn't materialising is it.

Niall & Antoinette said...

@Susan - odd to leave the nests in a ditch. It is easy enough to burn them; if you can get to them of course. Unfortunately we'd need a cherry picker to get to ours.

How nice my arm has a starring role ;-)

Niall & Antoinette said...

@Gaynor - like you I find the endless grey days miserable if not downright depressing sometimes.

Niall & Antoinette said...

@Broad - They're things to stay away from. The tiny invisible hairs [like glass] can really cause a nasty reaction. I looked as if I had chicken pox.
Antoinette

Niall & Antoinette said...

@fly - it certainly is pretty topsy turvy at the moment.

Jane and Lance Hattatt said...

Hello Niall and Antoinette:
It is as you say very confusing weather-wise this winter. Budapest was nowhere near as cold as is usual at this time of year and now Brighton has signs of spring everywhere. One cannot help but think that perhaps some real winter weather will be along at some point, just when we least expect it!

SP said...

Our grass is growing!

The garden is very confused.

SP

the cuby poet said...

I completely connect with your sentiments as today we have a beautiful blue sky which has made such a welcome change from grey after grey after grey! Our flowers are so confused and the birds are singing as if it is Spring already.

Niall & Antoinette said...

@Jane & Lance - odd isn't it? But as my Scots sister in law says 'we'll pay for this'!

Hope you're well on the way to full fitness--ops do take it out of you.

Niall & Antoinette said...

@SP - *big sigh* so is ours!

Niall & Antoinette said...

@Cuby - we could do with a day of blue skies here! Send it over :-)

Perpetua said...

Windy and very wet here in Wales, today, but still signs of spring already. According to the BBC the weather could go two quite different ways at the end of the month, mild and changeable as per, or much colder with frost and some snow. No way yet of telling which we'll get....

At least we don't have processionary caterpillars to contend with.

ladybird said...

I wouldn't mind a touch of frost (and I don't mean David Jason!), but I easily go without the snow, the hailstorms and the black ice. Vivement le printemps! Martine

Niall & Antoinette said...

@Perpetua - we were graced with a few rays of sun earlier today but back to grey now. It seems it is to get colder at the end of the week.

Niall & Antoinette said...

@Martine - we're quite happy with frost and snow! What we don't like is classic wet, cold and windy weather [echt guur weer] that was so typical in the Netherlands.

Tim said...

Echt guur weer sounds very Scottish... even if it looks Dutch!
Did you have a good Burn's Night?

WV is "swork"... and I've got some to go and do!

Niall & Antoinette said...

@Tim - it's Dutch and means "really raw weather". But you're right pronunciation wise it's "easy" for any Scot ;-).

Re Burns Night: agree with you the haggis is very good.