Still waiting for spring

THE recent Arctic weather has brought a chill to the countryside in Comet country. Take a look around your garden and you might be forgiven for asking: Where have all the flowers gone? Britain s coldest winter for a decade, even though snowfall in this

THE recent Arctic weather has brought a chill to the countryside in Comet country.

Take a look around your garden and you might be forgiven for asking: 'Where have all the flowers gone?'

Britain's coldest winter for a decade, even though snowfall in this area has been only a dusting compared to other parts of the country, has left its icy mark.

Bulbs are stunted and the glorious yellow of daffodils has yet to brighten up the early spring days. There is no hint of a green tint from the trees in woodlands as buds have yet to burst, leaving the trees dormant because of the icy winds.


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Wildlife is also finding it hard to rejoice even though animals' body clocks say spring has arrived.

Few birds are finding the enthusiasm to start nesting, squirrels look tired and lethargic wanting to return to their hibernation and lambs look perished in the fields.

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Farmers are also suffering from the cold weather with crops, both arable and even fruit, weeks behind and the ground dry after yet another winter with less than 50 per cent of the average rainfall for the area.

It is hard to think that a year ago we were all basking in temperatures in the upper 60s Fahrenheit with drifts of daffodils and other spring flowers making dramatic beds of colour to brighten up our days.

Now, the countryside and our gardens are as a bland and grey as the leaden skies.

At Knebworth House, which prides itself on the immaculate gardens, there is a faint sign spring is ready to bloom.

"Everything is about two weeks behind," said head gardener David Roberts.

"The daffodils are shorter than normal and the trees are dormant still and the buds not swelling.

"But there are a lot of flowers on the yew which indicates our summer could be a scorcher."

Robin Smith, who farms 450 acres at Boxbury Farm, Walkern, said the ground remains cold and dry and his wheat and barley crop remains several weeks late.

"We are suffering because of the cold and dry weather," said Mr Smith.

"All the crops are behind and we could do with some warm weather. I was rolling a field the other day and it was so dry there was dust coming from behind the rollers."

Another farmer Ian Rook, who grows new potatoes, onions and other vegetables and herbs on his 400 acre Littledene Farm at Broom near Biggleswade, also blamed the weather for his crops being late.

"The penetrating easterly winds have put everything behind," said Mr Rook.

"The potatoes are at least two weeks late but the dry weather means we are paying an arm and a leg to irrigate.

"Unfortunately by the time our potatoes are ready, potatoes have been imported into the country and we have lost ground in our sales.

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