garden has only seen the hardy mini-Iris bloom
body knows that winter is lingering on like a really rancid
smell so I'm not surprised my bulbs didn't flourish on 01
March...the first day of spring...according to the Meteorological
But then, the Met Office has a weather-prediction track record
only marginally worse than a pit pony at Aintree. I'm poking
futiley around in my frozen flower bed that almost made a
recovery from Jan and Feb's blizzards before an inch of frost
encased it more efficiently than Superman in Kryptonite.
The Met Office claims it uses the first of the month to neatly
package the four seasons into trimesters. And in this instance
I say the Met Office is wrong (it's a safe bet) because spring
most definitely starts on the vernal equinox - 20/21 March
- and has done for a millenium. Or, at least, I hope it does
because the endless sub-zero temperatures do nothing to coax
my crocuses out of hibernation.
I'm not sure what's so difficult about remembering the equinoxes
though, especially as there is the specific science involved
with alignments between the Earth and the Sun rather than
a random dumbing down to make things easy. Perhaps the druid
brain of 1,500 years ago was just bigger and more intelligent
than the pea-sized one that we're all told we have nowadays.
The spirit of the ancient past has also survived to give us
the term "vernal" that comes from the latin "bloom"
and is applied to spring. You might well ask what the Roman's
ever did for us but I can definitely report the scientific
investigation of my flower bed (where 100 bulbs were lovingly
planted last September) on 01 March revealed very little in
the way of "blooming". Some green shoots belonging
to my daffodils, tulips and crocuses have resolutely appeared
but only my mini-irises have taken the plunge into the icy
air and unfurled their petals.
And that's the irony of global warming - it hastens the onset
of the next, inevitable, ice age. Harsher winters in temperate
climes that extend further into autumn and spring. The latest
climate change triumph - an iceberg the size of Luxembourg
melting off the coast of Australia - is also unlikely to warm
things up for us in the north. Even flower farmers have empty
storage areas as they wait for their daffs to peak up above
the frost. Many say it's the latest spring they had for about
So, instead of loftily declaring spring
sprung on 01 March without any authority or any evidence of
flowers for that matter, perhaps we should focus on whether
we even have four seasons anymore or if we face just 12 months
of Arctic temperatures.