Spring is not quite here

19th February 2013

The bright, sunny, and warm last few days could easily make you think that spring has arrived and it has certainly fooled the Great Tits and Song Thrushes which have been singing away in the tree tops.  Having heard reports of Lesser Celandine, Dandelions and Wild Plum in flower in other parts of the country I was fully expecting to see everything springing into life as I finally managed to get out and about after returning from Kenya.

To my surprise, I’ve found very little has changed. We have had several falls of snow locally over the last couple of weeks and despite the warm day time temperatures the last few nights have had quite sharp frosts and so there appears to have been very little plant development over the last fortnight, at least in this part of the country.  I’ve not yet spotted a single Dandelion  flower on the roadside verges, nor the distinctive blaze of white in the hedgerow from the Sloe blossom and our despite our Oxford woodland being carpeted in Lesser Celandine none are yet showing any signs of blooming.

There are a few tell tale signs that the season is progressing.  The tiny purple-red female flowers of the Hazel are out, and if you knock the male catkins at the moment you will see a cloud of yellow pollen.  The Snowdrops are out in abundance and Daffodils are well on the way to coming into flower, I’ve spotted the odd one or two which are a bit more advanced and are actually in flower.

The only culinary bloom that has made an appearance in the last two weeks is the Primrose Primula vulgaris.  The young leaves have been around for a while (see previous post) but they have grown considerably and the first pale lemony yellow flowers are just out.


Primrose Primula vulgaris

In areas where the plant is abundant, pick just a flower or two from each plant so as to leave some flowers for others to enjoy, and put in to salads to add a splash of spring time colour. The flowers can also be candied and used to decorate desserts.  Don’t forget that the very young leaves from the centre of the rosette are edible raw or cooked.

Kev Palmer

Related posts