Even though I love the summer months, spring has actually always been my favourite of the four seasons. While summer comes with a certain amount of wistfulness that creeps up on you after the midsummer realisation that the days are only going to get shorter from that point on, spring is simply just full of promise of new life and new hope. And after the long and dark winter months, spring is quite literally a breath of fresh air. In the spring season, everything in nature is changing and therefore, making every outing feel like a brand new adventure.
I used to love spring even before moving to London but here it almost feels like spring in steroids compared to Finland. Everyone knows that the springtime in Paris is supposed to be amazingly beautiful as there are even songs dedicated to it but I wonder why more people aren’t raving about the spring in London. That ‘s actually the reason why last year, during my first spring in London, I was left almost speechless when roaming the streets and seeing the beautiful blossoms all over the city and before long, pictures of flowers had completely taken over my camera roll. Well, if I’m being honest, exactly the same thing happened this year as well even though I knew exactly what to expect.
Everyone who is my friend in Facebook or follows me on Instagram have surely noticed the endless stream of pictures of blooming trees and flowers starting from the early days of February. I know that many people have the misconception of London being grey and rainy city with too many people and too little green spaces and, to be honest, even with my numerous visits to London prior to my move, I myself hadn’t fully grasped the beauty of this city. Therefore, I now feel it’s kind of my responsibility to showcase the colourful and lush side of this city that not everyone knows of. And just FYI – it doesn’t really even rain that much in London. Statistically, for example Helsinki, as well as the above-mentioned Paris, gets a lot more rainfall throughout the year.
One of the biggest surprises during my first London spring was how early it starts. Obviously, we don’t have any real winter (well, not in Finnish standards anyway) as the temperatures very rarely drop below zero but I was still amazed to see the first cherry blossoms as early as in January. As they say, a picture is worth a thousands words and therefore, I thought the best way of showing the beauty of the spring in London, as well as making the use of some of the pictures that never made it to my social media feeds, is to share the progression of spring though my eyes.
I know that officially February isn’t counted as a spring month but in my book, when the dominant colour of nature turns to green and you begin to see little blossoms everywhere you look, spring has definitely sprung. The transition from winter to spring happens almost undetected as there’s no waiting for the piles of snow to melt and the grass stays green throughout the year. While February is still one of the coldest months, with average temperatures around 5-10°C, it’s not impossible to have warmer days with temperatures hitting the high teens – or even above 20°C, like last year.
March is when the spring officially starts both by the astronomical as well as the meteorological calendar. It’s also the month when the nature truly becomes alive. The most distinctive floral indicator of the change in season is the daffodil, and the best places to see them in all their glory are St. James Park and Green Park where hundreds of these beautiful yellow flowers cover the lawns. In early March, before the lockdown happened, I used cycle to the office via The Mall just to admire the yellow sea of daffodils in the morning sun.
While the different varieties of cherry trees continue to bloom throughout the spring, in March it’s the glorious Magnolias that steal the show. To be honest, I wasn’t really familiar with these gorgeous trees before moving to London as I think the Finnish climate may be a bit too harsh for these delicate flowers but now they might just be my new favourites.
In March, the blooming camelias are also offering a splashes of colour all around the city. People in England really seem to take pride in their gardens and therefore, it’s not just the parks where you can enjoy the blossoming trees and flowers. One of my favourite streets to roam in springtime is definitely the almond-shaped pair of crescents in South Kensington – The Boltons. Besides the beautiful communal garden in the centre, the front gardens of the lavish houses always offer the most beautiful riot of colour. The street is among the richest ones in the whole UK with an average property value of well over £30 million, and let’s just say it shows in the gardens as well.
If I had to recommend just one single month to visit London, it would be April. It’s when the nature is at it’s most colourful and there’s usually a heatwave or few coming our way. This year Easter was in early April and we were lucky enough to bask in a glorious sunshine with temperatures reaching up to +25 °C. And the stunning weather continued pretty much the whole month, making it the sunniest April since 1929, and bringing a bit of solace and joy to the people in lockdown.
Before last Wednesday, when the tightest restrictions were slightly loosened, we were only allowed one daily exercise outdoors. The restrictions did come with a silver lining though, as without the lockdown I would never have had the chance to enjoy the spring weather the way that I have. Working from home has opened up an opportunity for hour-long lunchtime walks and exploring those lovely little streets that you might have not even noticed before. We’ve also done of few of longer cycling trips and the beautiful scenery not even that far from the central London never ceases to amaze me.
Towards the end of the month, the pink cherry blossoms make way to little leaves and everywhere you look, it’s green. However, even after the pink cherry blossom and magnolia season has faded, worry not – wisteria season is just around the corner giving us a a whole ‘nother colour scheme – purple.
Wisteria is another plant I wasn’t too familiar with before moving to London. While the wisteria season starts in April, it’s not usually until May when beautiful residences and parks are fully awash with these sweet smelling flowers and the “wisteria hysteria” takes over London. But just by looking at the pictures below, can you really blame us?
May in general feels like a summer month due to the usually higher temperatures as well as the lush green nature. On the Early May Bank Holiday, we cycled all the way to Bedfordshire and the scenery along the way reminded us more of Finnish midsummer rather than early May. During our trip, we ventured off to a forest which was covered with the most famous wild flowers in England – bluebells. Even though these delicate blue flowers can be found across Western Europe, about half of the world’s population is in the UK.
After cherry blossoms, magnolias and wisteria, it’s time for the next big botanical bloom – roses. The capital’s rose season normally runs from May through to July, with various colours and species in flowers across London. As this post hopefully shows, we might live in a buzzing capital city but that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of stunning green spaces to enjoy pops of colour.
Besides turning me in into a crazy flower lady, living in London has even further deepened my affection for spring. And the best part of it is that we get to enjoy it for such a long period of time. And with the summer usually stretching all the way to the end of September, I must admit that for me, the England’s temperate maritime climate works a lot better than the more arctic Finnish one. Me and Mimosa actually often joke that we just might be one of the few people that have moved to England for an upgrade in weather. As even though the English often like to complain about the weather, they will never know what it’s like to wait for a summer that never arrives (I’m looking at you, summer of 2017) or wake up in mid-May to find the ground covered with snow.