What a difference a year makes!

GOLFERS practising their putting at Kilkenny Golf Club could be forgiven for throwing off their jumpers and thinking its spring time - and it’s not just the mild weather we’re having.

GOLFERS practising their putting at Kilkenny Golf Club could be forgiven for throwing off their jumpers and thinking its spring time - and it’s not just the mild weather we’re having.

Daffodils are in bloom at the putting green next to the clubhouse. It’s an amazing twist of nature as the plant has flowered this side of the winter and one of the traditional first signs of spring has been well and truly turned on its head.

This very day last year, November 30, night-time temperatures hit -10C and we were enjoying 4 cms of snow. Snow was on The Parade for and the city and county was set for the biggest freeze in history.

This November has proven to be exceptionally mild - with the highest temperature of the month recorded at 16C on November 13 according to www.kilkennyweather.com. Average temperatures are up almost 3C daily.

Secretary Manager of Kilkenny Golf Club, Sean Boland confirmed that eight daffodils remain in bloom. “It’s a mystery, it has never happened before. There’s a piece of hedging to one side of them but on three sides they are exposed,” said Mr Boland. And he confirmed no under ground pipes to keep the bulbs warm, and no particular sunny spot that they have enjoyed so far. “It’s remarkable, and the greenkeepers, who now cut the grass every second day this time of year, are saying there is considerably more grass to collect,” he said.

An agricultural development officer at the horticultural section in Kildalton College, Finbar Hodge, said that it all boils down to the unusually mild weather conditions. “We’ve had particularly mild spells, and some plants start coming early. It could be an early variety of daffodil which should only bloom in February. But cold weather and frost forces them to stop coming, and we have had none of that. You would see it in other plants, like magnolias now trying to produce. We have had extremely high soil and air temperatures - soil temperatures are 3c above normal,” he said. So from up to 10cms for the first weekend in December in 2010, to daffodils in bloom at the same spot twelve months on, what a difference a year makes.