The garden in early spring

Not much has been happening in the garden during the winter months but in March and April the new growth is starting to pop up and the flowers are appearing. So I thought I’d share a few photos!

I hope someone could help to identify the first two bushes as I’ve never known what they are – some kind of flowering currant?!

 

 

Ticking off the early signs of spring

It’s just past Easter and it’s still not warm. In fact, we’ve had more snow in February-March than I can remember for 5 years.

But I’m still spotting some of the early signs of spring so clearly the birds and flowers and getting ready regardless. So far I’ve seen:

  1. Blackthorn bushes flowering
  2. Snowdrops, crocuses and daffodils everywhere
  3. Frogs in the garden pond
  4. New growth on the sedum plant
  5. Buzzards skydancing
  6. Bumblebees in the garden
  7. Blue tits preparing the nestbox
  8. Coots nest building on the river
  9. A slight tickle of hayfever
  10. My cat is staying outdoors for longer

What signs of spring have you spotted so far?

May is always about the Bluebells

May Day Bank Holiday took us out to Blickling Hall in Norfolk (or Bono’s house, as Alan Partridge once famously claimed), where we witnessed the annual spectacle of the bluebells. I was expecting to be a bit disappointed – so much hype suggested to me that it would not be all that impressive a display after all.

Reader, I was impressed. Exhibit A (mixing metaphors much?)

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It was like venturing into faerie land.

(I think that’s just a labrador left of shot – not a deer, optical illusion, or some kind of Elfin Beast.)

Exhibit B

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And so on…

On the magic of bluebells

The British Isles are a stronghold for bluebells, boasting more than a quarter of the world’s population. They are perennial plants that grow annually to produce dazzling displays of carpets of bluebells and they are an indicator of an ancient woodland. It is a criminal offence to remove common bluebell bulbs as it is a protected species. They also produce certain alkaloids that are similar to compounds used the treatments for HIV and cancer, and they are used in folk medicine as a diuretic.

Non-native threat

The Spanish bluebell has invaded and hybridized and threatens our native common bluebell. You can tell the difference between the common bluebell and the Spanish bluebell from a few distinctive features:

  • the common bluebell has a drooping stem
  • its flowers are narrow and bell-shaped
  • pollen is a creamy white
  • it has a scent

Did you know?

Bees sometimes bite a hole in the bottom of the bell of the flower to steal the nectar without pollinating the plant.

In the Bronze age, people used to use bluebell sap to set feathers on arrows.