As is often the case February is our most wintry month, though that’s becoming a slightly relative description as winters are generally warming up here. Apparently across the whole of the UK, January 2020 has been the 6th warmest ever recorded, with the average temperature a full 2.0 deg.C above the long term average for 1981- 2010. Click here. This meant I could pick a bowl of Rhododendron “Christmas Cheer” flowers on the 6th – the earliest ever blooming of this, our first to flower Rhodie. in 2020, beating our usual first flowerer, R. cilpinense.
The month began with a mixture of rain and wind, then a couple of frosty and misty mornings, leading to a glorious still, sunny but chilly day on the 6th which we’d spotted coming in the weather forecasts (after a few days with minimal rain), and so held a short notice garden pop up garden opening for the NGS.
Apart from heavy rainfall and a bit of tree debris, we fared much better than many, and the remarkable aspect of most early flowering spring bulbs is just how well they stand up to such a pounding, looking almost as though nothing had happened, once the worst of the storm had passed.
Our honeybees continued to forage actively in the garden, mainly on Daphne bholua and Hellebore flowers…… before they seemed to sense the arrival of the impending stormy wet weather, and working as late as possible the day before, several didn’t make it back inside the hive, and perished with pollen loads at the hive entrance…