Saturday, 21 March 2009

Spring arrives officially

Spring begins on the Vernal Equinox, March 21, in the Northern Hemisphere, and at last it's here!

In recent decades season creep has been observed, which means that many phenological signs of spring are occurring earlier in many regions by a couple of days per decade. This year has been no different and many plants are now in flower that we would not have expected to see for weeks during my childhood. However, it is significant that this first morning we will have temperatures of 0C (32F) at 6am this morning. Welcome to spring.

The Claines Canna Collection is growing in the soil, protected and heated by polytunnels. About 30% of the plants are now shooting out sprouts, and there is a different smell in the tunnels, compared with mid-winter.

Several chores have to be performed in the next few weeks, the first being to spray the plants with a fungicidal health dose, we use Physan 20. This is billed as a bactericide, fungicide, viricide, and algaecide and we picked up the product from friends who collect and grow orchids, and who swear by it. We used it for the first time last year, and we had no problems, so another dose this year is called for. The other task is to remove all of the old dried stems, as the new young stems appear. The old stems were retained to provide support for the fleece covering and to act as a marker.

However,according to the Meteorological Office spring is already here.

It classes the first day of spring as 1 March, saying March, April and May are regarded as the spring months. But traditionally spring has started on the night of 20/21 March and a row has erupted over the official date.

"You would not regard the first three weeks of June as spring, yet historically summer does not start until 21 June," says a spokesman for the Met Office. "Equally, the bulk of people now regard 1 March as the first day of spring."

But disgruntled MPs are questioning "on whose authority" the date has been changed. This is a joke, they have no training or authority to decide when spring starts, but these dysfunctionals think that they should decide!

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