After what seems an age of thoroughly miserable winter weather, spring appears to have arrived, not just according to the calendar, but with the appearance of a little good weather. With the warmth and a brief respite from the seemingly endless rains, the bees have been flying. Indeed, one of our shrubs was positively humming with the sound of busy bees and there are plenty of spring flowers around to provide nectar and pollen when conditions permit. We had two main colonies going into the winter, and both so far appear to have come through strongly, although we have not, of course, opened the hives as it is not wise to do so until the temperature has risen further.
Whilst the rains have been problematic for many, indeed devastating for those caught in floods, and have prevented work on the outdoor beds, the mild temperatures can also be a concern, most especially for top fruit and currant bushes, which need a certain amount of winter chill in order to encourage good bud break. It may be that we get some late harsh spring weather, but if not, crops may be affected. The mild weather also encourages blossom to open early. If harsh frosts arrive after blossom has appeared, damage is likely, and crops may also be badly affected. Either way, it has not been an ideal winter. Having said that, some of our cordon pears and a couple of young plums at least appear to have budded up well. Time will tell. For now, it is enough to enjoy what pleasant spring sunshine comes our way.