Anonymous asked: You have no idea how jealous I am that spring has sprung in your part of the world! What sort of climate does the U.K. have that the landscape is so verdant this early in the year?
Oh, well, this year is certainly a contrast with last year! This time last year we were still getting heavy snow and bitter winds, and there was no sign of spring until the end of March/early April. But this winter has been extraordinarily mild- we’ve barely had a frost, let alone snow. We have, however, received quite a lot of rain, and many areas of the country suffered terrible flooding. So at the moment our winters are quite variable, but I think in the long-term we can expect more mild, wet winters. But if you’re surprised that Britain and Ireland should be so green and relatively early to leaf out given their latitude, bear in mind the tempering effect of the Atlantic; the oceanic element of our climate strongly buffers temperatures, and brings us plenty of lovely rain (that, in particular, is why Ireland is the Emerald Isle) and we also (for now at least) benefit from the Gulf Stream, which brings warm waters to our shores. That’s why you can see palm trees and other tropical species growing in gardens in Cornwall, Wales, and even the west coast of Scotland, even though that’s as far north as northern Quebec!