The Weather With You….

Posted on 8th May, 2011

A beautiful morning.

The radio reports a hard frost has hit the burbs, but here in town only the roof tops glint with a light frosty sheen. A clear blue sky and sun, and at last a real hint of spring. As I walked through Battersea Park this morning I reflected on the news this week that the SE has had one of the least sunny winters on record…..the place to be was Northern Ireland, as the sunniest, and it set me thinking how much the work we do is affected by the weather and whether we British really are obsessed with it.

I know I am obsessed with it, but my justification is that I need to be. I need to know whats happening or likely to happen in order to plan work. This month sees us in prime planting season. The soil is just beginning to warm up and the nursery stocks are replenishing. Louise has already spent two days planting up recently completed gardens near Reading and in Walton and this week and next sees me planting up two recently built projects in Kingston and Barnes. It's perfect timing, but the weather plays its part. Late frost can damage cosseted nursery stock, too much rain leads to waterlogged soil and too much dry weather means clients need to be vigilant about watering. It's all part of the challenge.

In reality, we have been planting over the winter. In fact, winter is prime planting season for trees (see the last blog). March generally sees the end of the tree lifting season, the time during which field grown trees can be uprooted (literally) with a huge digger which scoops out the tree with root ball intact. The end date varies ……guess what ….according to the weather! Warm and dry brings spring on early and lifting will stop, wet and cold, and lifting will continue.   Having recently received the go ahead from clients we rushed to placed an order for 3 mature specimen trees which will form a key element in a large landscaping scheme, we are keeping our fingers crossed that we have been in time to get the trees lifted from the fields to be planted in the next week or so….but who knows if the weather gods will be on our side.

My walk in the park also set me thinking about the changing nature of the landscape. Returning along the banks of the Thames I noticed The Shard or was it the Cheese Grater – standing among the more familiar London skyline. Architects are primarily responsible for shaping our urban landscape but increasingly Landscape & garden designers are making their mark. I look forward to seeing the landscaping for the Olympic Park site in Stratford next summer. Hundreds of trees have been grown specially, many supplied by the same nursery that we use, and we saw lines of them in fields waiting to be lifted, on our last visit. Garden and planting designers are also advising on the Olympic Park landscaping, working on planting schemes that will create impact for the duration of the event but also be sustainable over the longer term for the regeneration of this urban area.

As I look out from my desk over the roof tops and chimney scape, the sun is beginning to dip and I know I can count on tomorrow being a good dry day for planting. How’s the weather with you…

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