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'It is a little puzzling': readers on early signs of spring

We asked you to tell us about the early signs of spring near you. Here’s what some of you said

'It is a little puzzling': readers on early signs of spring
Flowers near the path of life at St Gemma’s hospice, Leeds. Photograph: Natalie Clince

‘In February last year our gardening team were out clearing snow’

There are beautiful signs of spring popping up in the grounds of the hospice where I work. It’s hard not to have mixed emotions: it is beautiful, especially bathed in bright winter sunshine, but knowing it’s only early February means we could just as quickly have deep snow next week. The life that’s appearing feels all the more fragile at this time of year and in turn it’s a reminder of the crisis our planet is facing.

A snowy day in February 2019 at St Gemma’s hospice in Leeds. Photograph: Natalie Clince

The photo of flowers above was taken this year on a ‘path of life’ at St Gemma’s hospice in Leeds on 6 February. The path is a place where anyone can come to reflect and remember. The wintry photo is from a similar time last year on 1 February when there was snow on the ground. Looking at the two they look like completely different seasons. In early February last year our gardening team were out clearing snow off the paths, whereas this year there’s barely been a hint of it. Natalie Clince, digital marketing manager, Leeds

‘This year seems incredibly early’

Rhubarb in the garden in Manchester. Photograph: Clare Howarth

With the warmer weather our rhubarb is growing strong – which is a concern if we have frost later. Our rhubarb is organic and has been in the garden since we bought the house over 30 years ago. This year they seem to be appearing incredibly early. The daffodils are just coming up now too. I was in shock at how early they were and how beautiful and vibrant the colours are against the starkness of winter. Clare Howarth, 54, designer, from Manchester

‘It’s becoming more common to watch the fruit trees blossoming earlier’

Almond treem in bloom at Serra de Estrela, Portugal. Photograph: Isabel Garcia

Serra da Estrela is the highest mountain range in mainland Portugal, reaching 1,993 metres above the sea. Back in the late 80s and early 90s it was very common to see snow at this time of year. Lately it is rare a snowfall will last more than a couple of days, except at the top. It’s actually becoming more common to watch the fruit trees blossoming earlier. The above photo was taken on 5 February this year, a very warm day of about 20C, and shows an almond tree in bloom – something that usually happens in early March. The below photo was taken in February 2013 at the same location but showing the surroundings on a snowy day. Isabel Garcia, 35, Portugal

Serra de Estrela in February 2013. Photograph: Isabel Garcia

‘Last year, bloom was completely out of question’

My partner and I are passionate hill walkers, hikers and in general outdoorsy people, so there’s plenty of room to compare. It’s been an incredibly warm winter this year and we’ve barely noticed the snowcaps on the hills in Lomond and Trossachs national park. Last year we were not able to take the road over the hills from Aberfoyle due to ice and snow; today it was completely clear and not a sign of snow. We found these flowers during a walk in February this year around Loch Katrine, near the southern slopes of Primrose Hill. It’s a stark contrast compared to last winter here in Scotland when we went over snow of 10-15 centimetres for many kilometres – bloom was completely out of question. Martynas Virzintas, 39, hospitality manager, from Glasgow

Flowers near Loch Katrine. Photograph: Martynas Virzintas

‘Often the UK winter is persistently dull and grey – but not this year’

Spring is starting to burst out all over. The snowdrops have appeared and opened fully within a few days which is a little puzzling as they seem to have done so more rapidly than usual. Rather strangely, most of the flowers are coming out at the same time, even though they are normally staggered between late January through until April. Often the UK winter is persistently dull and grey – but not this year. David Seedhouse, author, Wolverly, West Midlands

Snowdrops from February this year. Photograph: David Seedhouse

‘The scents of spring are greeting us before the end of winter’

I am chair of an environment scrutiny commission looking at ways we can reduce our carbon emissions in Southwark. I live in the middle of the city on the river and took the below photo in Southwark park, one of the oldest in London. I have noticed that spring is coming earlier and earlier each year. Snowdrops, prunus, narcissus and iris are not usually fully out but they are in full vigour right now. Blossom does make dreary places look beautiful and at the moment the scents of spring are greeting us before the end of winter. Leanne Werner, Labour councillor in Southwark, London

Southwark park. Photograph: Leanne Werner

‘Usually at this time of year the whole mountain is white’

Mount Fuji is visible most days from the training ring where I work as a horse groom. Locals say that usually at this time of year the whole mountain is white. Last year there was more snow in January and February, whereas this year Fuji-san is only half covered in snow. You can see this from the photo I took on 3 January this year. Even though it was last year, when I arrived in Japan on 21 March, I noticed the sakura (cherry blossom) bloomed four days later when normally this doesn’t happen until April. Ru Raynor, 30, horse groom, Gotemba, Japan

Mount Fuji earlier this year. Photograph: Ru Raynor
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