I was thinking about how gardening folks dealt with these early, cold, unpredictable springs in Georgian and Regency days in England when greenhouses or hothouses were fairly rare and expensive.
Cloches were sort of a poor man's mini-greenhouse. They could hold about one plant, so you needed a goodly number of them. You had to keep an eye on them so as not to scorch a delicate plant in the sun. Keep another eye on to guard from moisture build-up and mildew. But, oh, how useful. Cloches didn't just protect against the cold, they held in moisture and kept the wind out, they stand between the tasty succulent little plants and birds, deer, slugs and such hungry beasts like that.
The name 'cloche' comes from the shape of it — it's the French word for 'bell'. In fact, when these glass shapes lived inside in a somwhat less robust form, our historical people called them 'bell jars'.
These glasses seems to have reached England from French early in the 1600s. In our Georgian and Regency times, cloches joined cold frames, forcing boxes of many kinds, terra cotta cloches and even woven baskets, in keeping plants warm and safe across the British Isles.
I think kindly of these homely glass hats sitting in the midst of our protagonist's kitchen garden. How pretty, and how unexpected to come across while sneaking out to adventure in the early light of dawn.
What do you remember from some childhood garden in the spring?
What are you going to admire and use in your garden this next month?