A blackthorn winter

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With the clocks going forward, it’s officially Springtime. The signs have been out there for a while, from Snowdrops and Primroses to the fresh green leaves of the Hawthorn unfurling. But the Blackthorn is the real show-stopper, turning hedgerows into a frothy mass of white flowers.

Spring always poses a dilemma though, when to swap my boots for shoes? And just as I thought it was time, after a few days of promising Spring sunshine, it’s gone cold again. At this time of year there’s still time for “a Blackthorn winter”, meaning a flurry of snow arriving when the Blackthorn’s in flower. Thankfully, it looks like we’ll get drifts of flowers rather than snow this year (unlike last) but it’s a reminder that we can’t bank on being clear of the frosty mornings just yet.

Unlike Hawthorn, the Blackthorns bloom even before the leaves are on their shiny black stems, making the white flowers even more impressive, a rival to the garden Cherry in my book. They’re one of the best sources of nectar for early bees too. And another added bonus to all these flowers will be Sloes later in the year (I’m thinking Sloe Gin).

Blackthorns flower now and right through April, when suddenly the flowers will fall like confetti.

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