Don’t cast a clout till May is out

After a good few days of beautiful spring sunshine, which we all knew were too good to be true, we are back to cold, wind, rain and hail. But worst of all has been the night frosts, which have left the crab apple blossom looking like this.

Frost damage apple blossom

Frost damage apple blossom

A few blossoms that were not open have escaped, and thankfully some of the apple trees are only just coming into blossom so we may still get some fruit.

Crab apple blossom

Crab apple blossom

One of the plums may have had time to set fruit and I am not sure how the frost will affect those. The greenhouse appears to have given the pear tree some protection as the blossom is still white.

Pear blossom

Pear blossom

Today, I checked the wild cherry trees, which are planted in the far wood, and they too are all brown. The photo below was taken before the worst of the frost when they were still in pretty good condition.

The wild sloes (blackthorn), which grow in many of our local hedgerows, are also in flower  and will also probably be affected by the frost too.

The weather will probably be having an effect on the local wild birds too. Today, I saw both robins and blackbirds busily collecting food, so they are probably feeding young. I spotted this mossy ball on the fence on the track down to the far wood. It’s a wrens nest. And a bullfinch pair have been eating the dandelion seed heads – another great reason for leaving dandelions in your garden. The photo of the bullfinch is from last year.

As the saying of the title suggests weather in Western Europe can be a bit fickle!

 

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27 thoughts on “Don’t cast a clout till May is out

  1. bettylouise31

    Sorry to read about the frost. I wonder if my brother’s tree got hit by our recent cold snap. Today it is in the eighties and as it near May 1 it should okY to plant out. I went plant shopping today brought 2 gerranium and a spider plant and a pepeornia

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    1. Murtagh's Meadow Post author

      I suppose frost is one of those natural things we gardeners have to get used to – like slugs and snails!

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  2. Eliza Waters

    Sorry to hear about your late frost. I hope there will be enough fruit for you. It is always disappointing when freezing temps. follow a warming trend like that. It’s happened the past few years here. Two years ago the orchards lost a LOT of fruit. We are having a slow, cool spring, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

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    1. Murtagh's Meadow Post author

      That’s the thing Eliza – the nice weather had probably brought all he flowers forward a week – but hopefully some of the later fruit trees will be okay!

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      1. Wild Daffodil

        5th May is the latest I’ve known it in Dorset. Friends came to camp for a long w/e. They set up their tents in bikinis and 2 days later were packing up as huge fluffy snowflakes were falling and covering the ground.

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  3. Wild Daffodil

    Wow! (sorry to hear about the frosts) but Wow! to finding the wren’s nest – I don’t think I’ve ever seen one – I will look more carefully from now on. And dandelions — yes – a conundrum – if they weren’t so invasive they’d be prized for their beauty, and I see goldfinches feeding on the ones in my garden too, which is such a delight. Your photos are glorious! Thank you!

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    1. Murtagh's Meadow Post author

      Last year we had a wren’s nest in one of our nine star broccoli plants! They seem to nest quite low down where there is good cover.

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  4. Julie

    Severe late frosts are soul destroying, a years work wiped out overnight. We are due one on thursday night but covering apple trees even with notice is not always practical. I love the little wrens nest and Bullfinch photo, I leave my dandelions too.

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  5. Melissa Shaw-Smith

    Hope at least some of your fruit makes it through! Around here, the orchard owners–of which there are many–get very nervous at this time of year. One hail storm can wipe out the crop for the year, which is their entire livelihood. Luckily, our spring is so late in coming the blossoms have dodged our recent frosts. Today someone showed me a wren’s nest in an old hard hat they had put up on a fence post. Seems they’re not fussy when it comes to home making.

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    1. Murtagh's Meadow Post author

      One year my parents had a wren nest in the sleeve of a jumper on a washing line hung in the shed. They left the jumper there and the following year they used it again!

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  6. Jane

    I thought I’d wait until the end of May to plant out the bedding plants – what devastation the frost has caused and poor old birds. Your wren’s nest is a delight and I love the other settings – especially the jumper. Have never seen one before – how big are they?

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  7. dunelight

    Oh no…I live in a town that is deep in orchards to the north and east (Lake on the West and another town south). The photo of frost burnt blossoms is a heart stopper. Someone will be doing without this year. They may recover next season as the apple tree will have a nice rest since it’s not working hard to produce fruit. Next year will be a bumper crop if the Orchardman can hang on.

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    1. Murtagh's Meadow Post author

      That is a good point – the rest will do the tree good. Every cloud has a silver lining!

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  8. Robbie

    I put in two dwarf plums in my garden this spring-I am so excited! They get 8-10 feet tall, so I can have more fruit trees when they are dwarf, Your spring blooming photos, inspire me to have more spring bloomers in my garden! Your spring sounds a bit more brutal than ours on the side of cold, but ours is brutal on the side of “too hot”!!! It is going to be in the 80’s again the next few days, I sure hope we don’t get a quick cold spell here again. I doubt it but when it is dry in April or early may not a good way to start either. The weather has been acting strange the past few years:-( I sure hope all your stuff survives the cold temps:-) Fruit trees are so tender here in our zone 5-hope you get all that amazing fruit!

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    1. Murtagh's Meadow Post author

      Yes, our springs can be unpredictable and getting more so with climate change. Looking at our plum tree now it’s not looking hopefully for fruit – hope yours fairs better. And hopefully our apples will too!

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  9. aj vosse

    Looks like the mild period we’ve had will result in some frost damage now again! Not good!

    PS – I saw this year’s first newt action on Monday… I posted on Biodiversity Ireland’s FB page. Also caught a glimpse of a big fat black tailed BB (I think) on Tuesday…

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