We have to start planning the dates we will open in November, so we can then organize with the various charities which dates they will be covering, so they have time to ensure their volunteers do not have any holiday commitments! Have you ever had to try and anticipate what our English weather has in store six months ahead, it is a complete nightmare, as we really have no idea if spring is going to be early or late!
Our track record is not impressive, as the 2014 spring was early we had to bring the start date published on our Publicity Leaflet a week forward, then last year spring was late, so we had to extend the date we were due to close by one week!
This year we chose the range of dates that were similar to earlier years, and the twenty charities involved this year agreed which dates they would cover, but in January with the mild and very wet weather plus as the bluebell leaves were starting to appear, I became very concerned. If the start date coincides with the bluebells looking good, means that by the fourth week they are all well past their best and have flopped, as the wood darkens with all the tree leaves fully out, so I prefer that we open earlier, just when the white wood anemones are at their peak with a few bluebells just emerging. I persuaded my partners in the Bluebell Walk Partnership to bring our original start date forward by one week to Saturday 2 April, the earliest we have ever been. This meant that those charities who had agreed to cover the last week, were asked if they could transfer and cover the new first week, which they kindly accepted, but one charity organizer had booked their holiday over those dates, so it meant some swapping around until every date was covered, then we were able to print the 2016 Publicity Leaflet which was three weeks later than last year!
With the recent cold winds and frosts I am wondering whether I have been too hasty, as nature has the ability to average itself out, so unless we soon have some warm spring weather I will look rather foolish, especially to my family who make up the Partnership! However I am still optimistic as friends who have woodland in the area, told me this week that they have seen the odd bluebell flower and several wood anemones, but their woods are sheltered and do not face north. I attach two images of Beatons Wood taken today, which just shows bluebell leaves and having searched hard, found no anemone leaves yet.
Next Friday I will describe the additions and alterations ready for this season, to enhance the visitor experience, and of course an image or two to mark the progress of the bluebells and white wood anemones.
This message was added on Friday 4th March 2016
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