Notes from the garden shed: December 2017

Let’s talk about our weather!  All my life I’ve had a fascination with the sky and weather watching and this year has given me a lots of weather phenomena.

Storms & Tornadoes: Britain experiences around 30 to 35 tornadoes each year. At the beginning of August we had some pretty active weather, during a storm on the 8th, that gave us a month’s worth of rain in just 12 hours, tornado-forming clouds - called funnel clouds were seen in the sky - these can turn into a tornado.  The nearest tornado to the Skip garden was in Essex near Halstead, which uprooted trees, demolished barns and ripped off roofs – that’s about as close as you’d want to be to one!  

 A funnel cloud over Cornwall, first stage of making a tornado

A funnel cloud over Cornwall, first stage of making a tornado

Heat wave: Britain experienced some of its hottest June days for 40 years.  The Met Office reported that a weather station at Heathrow recorded 34.5C and central London hit 39C - mainly due to the ‘heat-island effect’.  The gardening team were in full watering mode as our container gardens dry out rather quickly.  

 Granary Square in the height of summer

Granary Square in the height of summer

Yellow sun: In October we experienced what I think was probably the most fascinating of the year’s weather phenomenon - near-darkness with a yellow sky and shrouded sun.  Not the end of the world but the results of a hurricane that originated near the Azores: Hurricane Ophelia tracked its way northwards dragging with it tropical air filled with sand particles from the Sahara and dust from huge forest fires in Portugal and Spain. This sand and dust goes high up into the atmosphere absorbing blue light but allowing more of the red part of the spectrum through so it appears red to our eyes. Actually it’s a gift to gardeners as the Saharan sand is full of nutrients for our soil life.  

Wishing all our gardening friends a happy festive season and a brilliant organic-growing 2018!