While some have dismissed recent reports of early signs of spring as ‘warmist drivel’ there is no question that there are more sightings of snowdrops and daffodils around than this time last year, writes Vanessa Thomas.
Parents on the school run in Maresfield have noticed and commented on their arrival.
Some more knowledgeable gardeners argue that certain varieties of snowdrops can flower any time from Christmas but others, who can identify the species that are currently flowering, say this accounts for only one species and those blooming now are different so it is unusual.
One avid gardener who keeps a garden diary indicated that hellebores, snowdrops, primroses, witch hazels and bulb iris are all out six weeks earlier than last year in her garden.
It seems though that the visibility of these early flowerers is restricted to the warmer south and that our relatives up north have noticed nothing new.
Have you spotted any signs in your garden?
Novice gardeners have wondered if this means that they can start sowing and planting earlier this year but have been advised against this by the more experienced as the threat of frost still looms. After all we are still expecting wintery conditions until the end of February.
Experts suggest January is not the time to get your seedlings growing because they would need to be kept inside, or in a glass house, for a couple of months and because of a lack of light they would become weak, lanky plants.
Lights levels as well as temperature are important for healthy plant growth. Seedlings sown in March to April are also more likely to outgrow those sown earlier.
Ironically the appearance of weeds in your prepared beds is a good gauge for the correct time to start direct sowing outside, provided of course that you remove them first.
* Thanks to Vanessa who sent us her story with photographs which show snowdrops near Bonners Church of England School and blossom near St Bartholomew’s Church.