Nasty not n-ice surprise

Cold snap: The beginning of December last year.
Cold snap: The beginning of December last year.

IT never fails to amaze me how close winter is in North East England.

At 55˚ North, we’re on the same latitude as Newfoundland and Alaska. Actually, maybe we should thank our lucky stars for the Gulf Stream keeping us relatively temperate!

To plan your garden successfully, you need to know approximately when your first and last frosts will be.

Of course, it’s not just how far north you are, but your altitude (the higher you are, the greater the risk).

Rural areas cool faster than cities, as the concrete in built-up areas releases heat stored during the day slowly – a difference of a few degrees.

Coastal areas also benefit in winter –the sea is warmer than the land in the colder months, the opposite of summer.

On Wearside and County Durham, first frosts are expected to hit early October, with the last ones mid-May.

It’s going to be a long winter.

Of course, this is only a guideline – I tend to watch Countryfile’s weekly weather round-up and check the Met Office daily.

You never know... I remember it snowing in June once!