For many years I thought that this saying referred to the month of May. It is warning us to be aware not to taken in by the occasional early warmth of spring; there could still be cold weather or frosts until the end of May. In other words keep your winter clothes to hand! Recently though I was made aware that this old saying can actually be taken another way and the "May" could actually mean the may (flower) of the hawthorn tree. Hawthorns are seen in abundance in our hedgerows. That would change the meaning of this old proverb to the need to be aware of a cold snap until the may flowers are in bloom.
Well this year here in Surrey the may was in full blossom at Easter, so still in April. This photo on the left was taken over the Easter weekend. The hedgerows were thick with lovely may blossom. The exceptional April weather we have had has brought everything on so fast.
This early growth has been remarkable in my own tiny, very sheltered back garden. I have foxgloves in full flower which I do not normally see until mid June. I have grown them for nearly 30 years and they always self seed and form lovely clumps in different parts of my garden.
I can remember my childrens' christenings in June 1986 and 1989 and the foxgloves (digitalis) were a feature in the background of the parties we were able to hold in the sunshine in our garden.
On the right is a photo taken last weekend.
I am quite astonished to see them so early this year, particularly after the savage winter we had.
I have them in shades of dark pink,
and pale pink.
I love their stripey throats which keep attracting the bees all day long. I am also fascinated how useful this plant still is to modern medicine. Digoxin, which is used to treat heart irregularities is still produced from this wonderful plant.
In the sunshine whilst I was taking these photo I spied someone sleeping behind my hosta pot
Just look who I found.....
my darling pink nosed Billy, fast asleep and covered in soil and quite oblivious to all that was going on around him! This is one of his favourite sleeping places in our garden. The only trouble is that he is so well hidden that sometimes, when watering my pots, I forget he is there. He often jumps out, shaking water drops from his coat!
My garden is really coming along and I recently bought some bedding plants which will be potted up very soon.
So whether the correct meaning for the old proverb, "Ne're cast a clout til May be out" is the month of May or the may (flower) I have cast a clout already and my garden is looking more summery every single day. This glorious weather still continues and this afternoon it reached 28oc in my sheltered back garden. It appears to be summer in spring!
The joys of nature (and the weather). Billy and I are so enjoying our garden. I hope you have lots of signs of spring in your gardens too.
Bye for now,