Updated: Dec 19, 2019
March is one of those strange months, where Spring can become apparent, or it can leave us scratching our heads as to whether the Winter has gone, or is still with us. The old saying goes, March 'comes in like a Lion and out like a Lamb', meaning the weather we encounter at the beginning of March should be wintry and more ferocious and as we move towards April, a more gentle, calmer and an altogether more welcoming climate meets us.
Now this is sometimes true and you could argue that the weather is definitely improving this month, but I still think Charles Dickens better summed up what we typically find in March when writing 'Great Expectations'.
'It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade.' Charles Dickens
This, I recognise, more as a typical March. Highly changeable and less predictable in pattern of weather. Not so much steady improvement as a lottery of weather patterns, where a single week, can bring you rain, snow, high winds, sun (with considerable warmth) and those passive, cool, but bright days that March does better than any other month. All interesting in their own right and all a different challenge for plants and gardens, however, more so because of their proximity to one another.
In terms of calendar, March marks the birth of Spring each year. In terms of reality, in the UK at least, it can be a very changeable month. Horticulturally, notoriously difficult, with early plants often encouraged by the increased daylight hours, flowering and growing, only to be suddenly and often devastatingly knocked back by late snow, arctic winds or drowning rain. 2018 has definitely been one of those. Eager bulbs have taken damage for me that they are unlikely to be able to grow out of. Some larger shrubs didn't enjoy the second round of snow and a number of branches require some pruning to repair them.
Some days you can see Summer on the doorstep, then the next it seems so much further away. Whether Lion or Lamb, March represents change and that, for me, is always positive.