In the last few days there has been plenty of opportunity to reflect on the effects of climate change. More frequent and extreme weather events, melting ice, disruption to normal seasonal patterns of growth.
First we experienced the lowest temperatures I have known in the UK, never mind our usually mild, sheltered spot. As the Beast from the East swept through, the ice on the pond grew to an inch thick, trapping the water lily leaves which refused to acknowledge winter. As the following snow was so powdery, it didn’t settle on the Mediterranean Rosemary which stubbornly flowered through Christmas and into February. Snow drifted across the garden, weighing down and threatening to break larger tender evergreen plants. Candybells and Nemesia which were flowering out of season surrendered at last.
Then came storm Emma, taking on the Beast and lashing the garden with freezing rain. As the two fought for supremacy, ice formed then melted and refroze. Whole bushes were glazed – mother nature taking a caste of every leaf. Branches of bare trees where encased in ice. As it cracked and fell, it took with it the beautiful trapped green lichens which glistened like jewels on the snow. Today, it feels almost like a dream, the rain has cleared the snow and between the showers, the sun shone bright and warm.