Okay - I have banged on about this several times - plants are active much earlier than they should be this year. For example up above you can see fennel leaves in the stalag (the background cardboard is over the path - keeps down the weeds). I have never ever seen fennel in Jan before in Tipperty - normally it is end of March/early April.
On Sunday we went out for a walk along an old railway line. In between personal musings about the destruction of the railways by the Beeching report in the 60s and whether they railways should be reinstated and how much that would cost - then we spotted gorse in flower and also pussy willow flowers, In the second week of January - very very unusual.
This has been mentioned in several places online (and radio 4 too so it must be true) for example the two articles below. = Strange times.
By Judith Woods2:17PM GMT 10 Jan 2015
"My first sweet little snowdrop heads are peeping out of the dark soil in my herbaceous border heralding spring – which is odd, as I can’t say we’ve had any winter to speak of, at least not in my garden.
Elsewhere in Britain, metereological mayhem reigns, with hurricane winds and horrendous downpours, flood warnings and snow. But here in north London, it’s expected to be an unseasonably balmy 14 degrees, although grimmer weather is on the way.
Former weatherman Michael Fish yesterday declared Britain was experiencing “explosive cyclogenesis”, which sounds like a rejuvenating skincare regime but is in fact an area of low pressure descending on us rapidly.
There is wider talk that global warming will see us enduring a “fifth season” of monsoon-like downpours on an annual basis. How will that affect the garden?
The one thing I have learned is that no matter what climatic conditions or however clumsy my efforts, something always grows, even if it wasn’t what I expected. One year, despite my (accidental) scorched earth policy, Mother Nature bore me no ill will and instead gifted me a fabulous show of antirrhinums."
By Edward Malnick3:32PM GMT 10 Jan 2015
"Hundreds more plants are in flower than is usual for January following the warmest year on record.
Botanists said they were amazed to find more than 300 species in bloom when textbooks said the figure should be around 30 at this time of year.
The Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland found that an unprecedented 15 per cent of wild plants were in flower during a four-day survey which began on New Year’s Day.
The most commonly recorded species were daisy and dandelion, with more exotic finds including gorse, heliotrope and sea campion.
Tim Rich, a botanist behind the Botanical Society’s New Year Plant Hunt, said the abundance of species in flower was “extraordinary”, suggesting it was largely due to warmer weather.
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“Fifty years ago people looking for plants in flower at the start of the year found 20 species,” he told the BBC. “This year the total has amazed us – we are stunned. During the holiday I drove along the A34 south of Newbury, [West Berks] and saw half a mile of gorse in flower when gorse is supposed to flower in April and May. It’s bizarre.”
The relatively mild south and west of Britain had the highest numbers of species still in flower, but areas of the east, north and Scotland also saw dozens of plants in bloom.
Dr Rich said: “We thought that the snow and hard frosts before Christmas would have finished most flowering in the north, but it seems not to be the case.”
Across the country the survey found 368 species in bloom, compared with 222 last year. The Botanical Society said the rise was partly down to an increase in the number of volunteers involved.
The greatest number were found in Cardiff, with 71 types of plant in flower, while Cornwall came a close second with 70.
More than 50 species were found in the east and north of England and 39 were flowering in Edinburgh.
Volunteers compiled 143 lists of 2,908 plants spotted in bloom around the country over the four days. Half included 20 or more species in flower. Ryan Clark, an ecologist who co-ordinated the survey, said urban areas had more species in flower than the countryside because they provided more “sheltered corners” and “disturbed ground”, with plants spreading out from gardens to public areas.
He added: “It was astonishing to see so many records flooding in, from Guernsey to the Moray Firth and Norfolk to Donegal.”
However, he said there was little indication of an early spring.
“Half of the records of spring-flowering plants were from just three species: hazel, lesser celandine and primrose,” he said."