This has been one of the best snowdrop years I can remember in recent times.
The winter was relatively mild and because the new shoots did not have to push up through frozen, snowy ground, they grew quickly producing generous stems and an abundance of dazzling flowers.
Our resident bees have survived the winter and it was a delightful surprise for me to discover them feeding on the snowdrops growing near the hives. Generally it is too cold and icy for bees to be out and about when these early spring flowers emerge but last week I spent a good ten minutes watching and listening to the bees as they harvested the pollen and nectar from a sun-drenched carpet of blooms. It is so good to know that they have survived the winter storms and they have an abundant ‘fly-thru’ takeaway right next door.
Return of the Doo’cot Loch
February is turning out to be the wettest month this winter and to date we have had more than 200 millilitres of rainfall recorded in the gardens. One outcome of all this rain has been the re-emergence of ‘the Doo’cot Loch’ – the flooded area in the neighbouring field. Last summer the farmer spent a considerable time filling-in the hollow where the water accumulates, hoping to prevent the problem this winter and make his fields less attractive for visiting geese who consume his grass.
To a degree he has been successful as without the water the migrant geese have stayed away much to our disappointment. In past years we have enjoyed being under the flight path for the various skeins of geese passing overhead as they land or take-off from the field and it is always a privilege to witness the amazing spectacle when hundreds of geese are startled into the air simultaneously. All to soon these Scandinavian travelers will be heading north to the lands of white nights and the midnight sun as another cycle of life begins but for the time being we can happily enjoy their raucous presence here.
Warmer days are coming
As the daylight increases and the sunlight begins to feel warm again it is tempting to get out into the garden and begin tidying up, sowing seeds and brightening your surrounding plot however, as the snow this week has shown, cold weather is only round the corner and can catch us out at any time in early spring.
Ladybirds and other hibernating insects need somewhere to snuggle down during the cold nights or wet spells and by exposing the soil you are creating opportunities for weed seeds to germinate. Blackbirds and other ground feeding birds have rich pickings in the leaf litter whilst bare soil is more like an empty larder for them so if you can please leave things for another couple of weeks.
Far better to cosy down by a warm fire and leaf through the seed catalogue or sort through your seed packets planning your next triumph. Before you know it the weather will be grand and the garden will still be there, patiently waiting for all your plans to flourish. Here is a picture of some of our irresistible Hellebores. If you click on the picture you might just see the bee in the top right corner.