Garden Views-02-February 2019

February began with snow on the ground, a biting North easterly, and temperatures barely above zero all day. At least the sun shone, and Imbolc was suitably impressive. With one foot in winter, and one in spring.

3 days of harsh cold with night time temperatures of minus 9 and deeply hard, frozen soil, covered in hail and snow,  gave way quite dramatically to a shift in winds to Westerlies, and temperatures rising to nearly double figures. 

By mid morning of the 4th, all the snow had melted, and eventually the sun came out around noon. By 1.45pm, the honeybees had found the 2 areas of the garden which were receiving full sun, and also out of the cool Northerly wind.

There must have been hundreds visiting the many insect friendly flowers now growing there – Crocus, snowdrops, Hellebore, Scilla mischtschenkoana and Daphne bholua “Jacqueline Postil”. The buzzing sound was amazing for this time of the year, and a true delight!

All the Crocus, featured in close up above, are the result of me hand pollinating, collecting seed and scattering it, in the absence of any bumblebees for at least another couple of weeks. Fortunately I shan’t need to bother with the Crocus this year! Though even the honeybees don’t seem to visit all the Cyclamen coum flowers. At least, not yet!

Valentine’s day 2019 will live long in our memory. A day of full sunshine, and although a fairly brisk wind, the direction had swung round to a Southerly direction, apparently bringing us warmer (11 degrees C) air up from the Azores. The garden shone as never before at this time of the year, and we’ve never seen so many honey bees in a garden as there were at Gelli from 9.00am to 3 pm. Quite extraordinary! Hundreds of thousands of insect friendly flowers, for thousands of bees.  

We even saw our first Peacock butterfly, and Queen Bumblebee (Bombus lucorum) in the garden, which is as early as ever.