Bees, bud break and other signs of spring

crocus and snowdropsThe first bee appeared in the garden today (5th March) – a great fat bumble bee, probably woken by a few warm sunny days in succession.   The nights have been very cold though, so I hope it has a warm retreat somewhere, tucked away from the frost.

I saw Camellia bushes full of honey bees while down in the far south of England last weekend, but it was lovely to spot one here in the Highlands so soon afterwards.  (There were also lambs down south, but I’ll be rather surprised if I see one of those gambolling through the borders here).

The signs of the garden transitioning into spring are now everywhere.  Snowdrops are starting to go over and the miniature irises in pots are completely finished.  They’ve been swiftly replaced by primroses, Tete a Tete daffodils, anenome blanda, crocus, primula and masses of hellebores.  The full size daffodils don’t look to be too far behind.

primroseMany of the shrubs and early trees are starting to break their buds too.  The crab apple, shardy fushia, clematis alpina, sambuscus nigra, blackthorn and spirea are all opening.

Birds are definitely starting to have lurve on their tiny minds and the midges and biting bugs have woken up.  Even the wretched grass needs cutting (which doesn’t, never has, never will, count as gardening in any way shape or form).

I know it is only the first week in March, but the temptation to rush outside and plant things that can’t possibly cope with the night time temperatures is pretty strong!  I should probably focus my attention on those winter tasks I still haven’t finished yet (like pretty much everything structural and most things to do with cleaning, tidying and organising).

tete a tete daffodilsMy windowsills will have to overflow with cuttings and seedlings for a fair while yet!

Tell me if you’ve seen bees and other signs of spring in your garden yet!


Spring not the only thing to arrive early

Sunday 20th March heralded the official start of Spring and there are signs of it everywhere in the garden.

Smaller daffodils like Tete a Tete do best here, taller ones often break in the wind

Daffodils are just out, both front and back.  I saw my first tulip; the blue wood anemones are peeking through and the late crocuses are putting on a good show.  The hellebores are also the finest I have ever seen them.  There is even the illusion of green breaking on the trees – but that is just early Alpina type Clematis which thrive here, winding their way through the trees and fence wire.

This bursting forth of plant life  is even more striking because this time last year the garden was still frozen and it was almost the end of April before it looked like this

Bees, birds and rabbits are frisky and lurve is in the air for most members of the animal kingdom.

But, early Spring combined with strong wind has brought me a whacking dose of hayfever and I have had to take anti-allergen medicine.  This is always a last resort as it makes me so drowsy.  Yesterday I fell asleep at my desk at 5.15pm (though watching Monty Don/Gardener’s World on BBC iPlayer probably contributed significantly to this).

What a heavy price we gardeners pay 😉