Good morning Mrs May

The new month certainly isn’t afraid to make its mark on the first day.  May is the last autumn month before the winter and on the whole autumn is normally thought of as that kindly season that eases us gently through a period of transition.   But this year it hasn’t gone according to plan.  Autumn has been like that unruly classroom full of kids that the befuddled and poorly equipped teacher can’t control.  What started with one tentative riotous rain storm ended up becoming the norm.  April couldn’t help itself and delivered a final blow of another 46mm of rain on the final days.

Chilly night
Last night had one of those ‘its going to be cold’ feelings.

Well now we have a new month and a new teacher.  And she has written her name crisply and clearly on the blackboard of the season with a sharp white icy scratch.  She has cracked the whip and urged everyone to sit up straight and pay attention.

If you look carefully you can see the frost in the shadow of the fence palings.

The first night of May came laced with air directly from the South Pole.  This Antarctic breeze whooshed up the county delivering snow to the high peaks and ice to the low valleys.  We are more near the top than the bottom of the country and by the time it reached us, it was barely noticeable.  Ok it was colder than normal, with a sharpness in the air and I will need to wear socks today.

The frost can’t have been too bad. Ordinarily this marigold would have melted into a brown mush by now.

But as far as a frost was concerned, I had to look hard for it.  I did find it, while wandering about outside in my pyjamas at first light before the sun had peeped over the horizon.  It wasn’t languishing on the plants and there wasn’t a sea of white as far as the eye could see.  But on some plastic left out overnight there were some clear droplets of water that were indeed frozen.  If you weren’t looking you would have missed it.

Frozen ice over a puddle of water created delightful shadows
Ok, it seem it did get rather cold in places – a pocket of water on one of Hubby the Un-Gardeners boat projects captured this rope in a frozen grip.

Late last night as the sun was setting, long after I had finished gardening for the day and put everything away, I had this nagging feeling something was in the air.  The night time temperatures were dropping fast in a clear deep sky.  So, I went back out into the garden and covered my peppers with frost cloth.    The poor wee things.  They had suffered enough and are still showing signs of having wet feet for most of April.  They were only really starting to get going with the harvest when those first fat drops fell six weeks ago.  I’m not ready to give up on them yet.

Securing frost cloth
I have ping pong balls on the end of the bamboo stakes supporting my pepper plants so I don’t poke my eye out looking for my harvest deep in the foliage. I have also found they are fabulous for securing frost cloth – remove the ping pong balls from the bamboo stakes, lay the frost cloth over the top and reattach the ping pong ball. Brilliant – if I may say so myself!

There are high expectations for this new month.  At this point I am happy with the crisp chill of a frosty month, so long as it is accompanied by clear blue sky days.  I will be able to get so much done in the garden on days like these and all I’ll need is a fluffy jumper, a good beanie and some thick socks.  May, so far you are in my good books.  I was always one of the good students.

Clear blue sky
Today is going to be a good day!

Come again soon – I hope this will be a good month.

Sarah the Gardener  : o)

8 thoughts on “Good morning Mrs May

    1. It does seem to hold it well enough as the holes in the ping pong balls are just cuts with a sharp knife to form an X so it grips the fabric really well. Having said that I haven’t had to test it on a really wind day yet. : o)

  1. Enjoyed your story very much Sarah, and it feels so strange to hear you talk about the autumn and the coming cold, totally the opposite of our May which is usually the most beautiful spring month and the month I have always loved. Great tip of the pingpong ball and one I will copy, thanks.:-)
    It sounds like you are full of energy and joy in thinking about the coming work in your garden, it is inspiring to me!

    1. Thank you for your kind words. Your May is the equivalent of our October and it is one of my favourite months because the garden really comes alive then. Enjoy your growing season. : o)

  2. I started reading your blog and couldn’t see why you had such plants being hit by frost when I have all my plants wrapped up in a greenhouse ready to go out. Then I saw that you are in New Zealand and everything became clear!

    1. Hi Steve. I’m always doing things differently to everyone else. However I can steal northern sunshine in my miserable winter and then repay the favour in my summer. : o)

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