Weekly Photo Challenge: Seasons

Double hellebore

I called in at Gresgarth Hall last Sunday for snowdrop day. As expected, the snowdrops were looking fine, but what ought to have been a surprise is that so many hellebores were in full flower too. Hellebore day isn’t scheduled for another month, so it’s perhaps as well that their flowers are so long lasting.

Far from being surprised, I’d been eagerly anticipating the hellebores. After all, I’d have had to have been keeping my head in a bucket not to realise this season is a strange one. Since the start of 2016, gardeners the length and breadth of the country have been marveling out loud on social media at the range of flowers brought out early by the unseasonably warm weather we’ve had this winter. 

Hellebore plant at Gresgarth Gardens

The Independent newspaper ran a story saying that more than 600 species of British flowers were in bloom on 1st January 2016 compared to 30. (Since then the newspaper has itself fallen victim to climate change of a different type, becoming the first British newspaper to announce their move to publishing online only in response to their dwindling print circulation.)

But to return to the seasons… what every nature lover is asking is: what happens next? How will nature mind the gap? Is this another anomaly or part of an irreversible trend?

I’m all for enjoying this season’s early bounty – and believe me, I do. But what should be a pure joy makes part of my heart feel heavy.

Saving this post as a draft, I decided to look for climate data to find out what’s happening to average mean temperatures. The data for my part of the world turns out to be the longest running of its type with records of mean monthly temperature starting in 1659. It shows a clear progression over time, though ‘just’ a couple of degrees. How sensitive do we think nature is likely to be to that ‘just’?

I know many people believe climate change isn’t happening. I hope with all my heart they’re right.

I hope hoping helps.

Shared for WPC: Seasons.

20 Replies to “Weekly Photo Challenge: Seasons”

  1. Here in southwest Virginia, my hellebores bloomed lushly the first weeks of January. And now they’re blooming again. Gotta love ’em.

    1. me too, i am waiting for them. As for climate change, it affects different parts of the world differently. Here in my part of the northeast it’s not as noticeable. Gorgeous photos!

  2. Gorgeous hellebore photo, Susan. I know what you mean about having a heavy heart in the midst of this unseasonable weather. It is hard not to believe that what the scientists have been predicting for 40 years is actually happening. It is occurring globally, so it can hardly be called an anomaly.

  3. My hellebores were all flowering on Christmas Day this year, which is unheard of. And this weekend the hellebore day I attend annually in Cornwall was slightly marred by the early season. The flowers were well past their best, although it was good to enjoy other flowers instead. Somehow, when we have cold or warm winters and springs nature always seems to correct itself, but long term I believe we do face permanent change.

    1. It must be a quandary for gardens who only open rarely and advertise well ahead – do they stick to their original dates or take some kind of action? I believe climate change is real too.

  4. It has certainly been an unusually mild winter here in the South-West with only a few frosts. So many spring plants were flowering before Christmas I wonder what will be around in April? I share your concerns about the climate changing.

  5. I know exactly what you mean. The good news is that the flowers are beautiful. The bad news is it might be bad news. Sometimes I’m glad I’m not a youngster!

  6. I don’t think anyone doubts climate change is happening any more; I know many did for a long time especially in the US where the government didn’t want to believe what was happening so they didn’t have to respond. There will always be ups and downs in temperatures but the trend is higher temperatures but more worrying more extremes of weather; all the floods in the north of the UK, Italy’s drought and extremes of temperatures last summer; the lack of rain in Southern California are all due to what we are doing to our planet.

    1. You make some great points. I don’t believe many people think hard enough, even now, about eventualities such as what would happen if one of the ice caps was to melt.

      1. I think more people in the US are uninformed than in, say, the U.K. I don’t think that is because they don’t care but our media is more free to discuss and explain what is happening.

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