🐾 Maybe the reason I love animals so much, is because the only time they have broken my heart is when theirs has stopped beating.

Thursday, 16 August 2012

False alarm!

May all seasons be sweet to thee... 

A few weeks ago, we had what I call a "false" spring - green buds on the Celtis africana (White Stinkwood) and my peach tree sporting tiny little blossoms. It happens most years, and yet I never learn. Absolutely keen for spring, I start cutting, watering and clearing, only to be caught out by a late frost or a sudden cold spell, ending up with now-exposed plants being damaged or killed off by the frost.

My Tree Fuchsia (Halleria lucida - to the right of the terracotta pot) managed to stay green all through winter and then, suddenly, Mr. Frosty entered the garden and whipped everybody for daring to be so brash on his watch! Luckily the Aloes (aloe ferox) had a good start with mild weather as it started flowering and was strong enough to withstand the onslaught. 

The fact is, plants have to get ready for the cold. They have to make all sorts of interior preparations — battening down the hatches, so to speak — before winter comes. They essentially create an antifreeze, converting easily frozen carbohydrates in their stems to freeze-resistant sugars, and they quit producing the kind of young, tender growth that will be most vulnerable to spring. But as this warm spell of 'early' spring arrives, plants aren’t battening down the hatches anymore, they’re throwing them wide open, and putting on flowers and new growth like summer was just around the corner.

The plants are now so delirious and careless with this warm weather, that it won’t take much to do damage. Just a few hours of serious cold could do serious damage to plants that have, like me, fallen for this early "false" spring.

The birds are still extremely grateful for the feeders I fill every morning - here the female Weavers are dominating this feeder and I noticed most of the males at another feeder - girls sharing some secrets over a snack? "Do you see him girls? He's the one I told you about! The nests he builds are absolute master-pieces!"


So, here's to spring -

begin . bloom . fresh . subtle . bright . begin . simple . new . soft . cool . burst 


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