Scots are being urged to get out into the garden in the coming days to make the most of the spring heatwave that “could be over in the blink of an eye”.
The Met Office has forecast temperatures will rise to around 16C today and tomorrow before climbing to a high of 21C from Thursday, making this easily the hottest week of the year to date.
The recent cold wet weather and weeks of cooler than average conditions means plants have remained in bud longer than normal, the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) said.
But with sunshine and warmer temperatures forecast, there was likely to be a short, intense burst of spring flowering as everything from magnolias to cherry blossom and wood anemones reach their peak. The RHS said while the spring displays would be “magnificent”, they could be over within days as summer flowers take over.
The society’s chief horticulturalist Guy Barter said: “I would urge people to get outside into their gardens or visit green spaces this weekend as spring could be over in the blink of an eye and you really don’t want to miss what’s coming.
“Look out for daffodils. They are usually over by now, but later flowers are still stupendous. Flowering cherries are at their best and, with the rain holding off, will be looking sensational.
“Magnolias are flowering late as are camellias and rhododendrons. Usually spring begins in March and lasts until mid-May, so this shorter, condensed spring will create magnificent displays in our gardens, public spaces and roadsides across the UK as everything flowers at once.” Mr Barter said now was also a good time to start sowing seeds and preparing gardens for the coming season, which many gardeners have not yet managed to do.
And he offered some words of reassurance for those gardeners who have not yet pulled on their wellies and got into the garden.
“Although it is good to sow seeds and plant in March, plants do little growing until April and peak growth does not occur until June, so there is no need to be downhearted as in all likelihood there will be little difference in summer flowering,” he said.
A spokesman for the Met Office said the first prolonged warm spell of spring would be “a lot warmer” than so far this year.
He added: “After a cloudy start to the week in western Scotland with some rain on Tuesday, sunshine will build. Temperatures could sneak to 21C in the Borders and 19C in Glasgow by Thursday.”
Edinburgh will experience a high of 18C on Thursday in the midst of the ‘heatwave’.