Spring Forward, Give us a Cloche & Daff-t Weather

Taken from Lynne’s weekly column ‘Green Scene’ for the Western Mail. 24th March 2018 
 Spring Forward

Hooray! The clocks go forward an hour this weekend, meaning that we have an extra hour of daylight at the end of the day.  All we need now is the appropriate weather to go with that extra hour to make the time useful in the garden!

And the best way to remember whether the clocks go forward or back, is ‘spring forward, fall (as in autumn) back’.

I am reading a fabulous book at the moment called ‘Why we Sleep’ and it is incredibly revealing.  Sleep is far more important then we are lead to believe.  And a lack of sleep can result in all sorts of ailments and even disease, as your body is starved of its repair time over a prolonged period.   And rather scarily, records have shown that there is even a spike in heart attacks the day after the clocks go forward and we lose an hours sleep.

I have always said that most of us take our bodies for granted and don’t appreciate how amazing they are.  This also proves how sensitive they are too.   Most of us spend more time maintaining our vehicles than our bodies and you certainly wouldn’t expect your car to keep running without a few essentials like oil, water and fuel.  Our bodies are the same – we complicate things hugely but I am beginning to realise that it is the basics that really count – proper sleep, good nutrition, being hydrated and being active.  And the other thing that fascinates me is that none of those things require money, just discipline and an investment of time.

It seems that common sense isn’t so common any more, which reminds me of the Native American saying with regard to Daylight Savings Time … “Only the government would believe that if you cut a foot off the top of a blanket, and sew it to the bottom, you would have a longer blanket.”

Give us a Cloche

Giving in to my impatience, I have invested in several little cloches to go over my raised veggie beds, in an attempt to warm up the soil and bring on this seasons veg a bit quicker.

There are lots of different types and sizes – and prices – but the best I found were the ‘PVC Cloche Greenhouse’ from Wilko.  It is definitely more of a cloche than a greenhouse but claims to be perfect for seed propagation as well as growing plants that need a bit of extra protection. The frost-resistant PVC cover aids propagation, growth and hardening of new plants before planting outdoors when the weather turns warmer. The clear cover is also perfect for giving your plants maximum light and ventilation and the handy roll-up zip panels provide easy access.  For £10 each, they have to be worth a go.

I had a couple of similar ‘covers’ a few years ago and as well as bringing on the seedlings on a treat,  I was also able to pick early lettuce and spinach – which reminds me, the cloches also provide protection from those pesky rabbits which are back!

Daff-t Weather

To quote max Boyce – “Duw, it’s hard.”  It’s been a long hard winter for us gardeners and I do wonder why nature seems to turn on her own, not us gardeners but the poor starving birds, the shrivelled up leaves of the evergreens and the poor vulnerable new born lambs. I find it all quite upsetting – even seeing the snow-damaged daffodils that have done their best to stand tall to bloom through it all.

Daffodils will be ‘blowing their trumpets’ at a special day devoted to Wales’ national flower which takes place at the National Botanic Garden of Wales on Sunday, March 25th.

With more than 50 varieties of daffodils on display, the Garden is the perfect place to enjoy the cheerful spring blooms and learn the difference between trumpets, tazettas and tête-a-têtes.

You can find out how Welsh varieties have been pushed close to extinction and why daffodils are associated with our patron saint, St. David.

Renowned naturalist, Ray Woods, will be the special guide giving a free talk and guided walk about the history of daffodils and their Welsh connections.  The talk will take place in Theatr Botanica at 1pm and will be followed by a guided walk of the Garden’s daffodil collections.

There’ll be a fab’luss daffodil competition on the day too, where you can take a photo with the ‘Daffodil Selfie-Frame’ among the Garden’s daffodils. Simply post your photos to the Garden’s or Growing the Future’s Facebook page to enter.

Daffodil Day is on from 10am until 4.30pm, with all daffodil-related activities included in the Garden admission price  Admission to the Garden is £10.50 (including Gift Aid) for adults and £4.95 for children five to 16 years of age. Entry is free for Garden members and parking is free for all.

For more information about this or other events, visit www.botanicgarden.wales or call 01558 667149.

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