These photographs bear witness to the strange weather we are having this January. The Red Admiral and the Comma are butterflies that over-winter here, and the honey bees don’t have to stay tucked up in their hives for too long but the weather is staying exceptionally mild.
It is so mild the queen bumble bees have stretched their wings and stirred from their winter torpor to gather some nectar.
The bees have been visiting the Viburnum tinus. This is not the preferred winter flower for the bees so I presume the warmer temperatures have activated the plants nectar production.
The first winter aconite has opened in the garden.
The apricot flower, as beautiful as it is, must surely be too early. You would think it could tell by the length of the short days that it is winter and it would not to be fooled by the mild temperatures.
The shoots are opening and the leaves unfurling. I do not want to be pessimistic but I think my chances of apricots this year are low.
The cold winter weather is bound to arrive and trees, like my plum tree in flower in the picture above , will lose a lot of their fruit. I try to recall that we had snow last February and that the winter is far from over. I would have less to complain about if there were more frequent sunny days but in fact we are having a lot of rainy days.
On the wet days I am looking through my photographs of the bees I have seen and trying to identify them. I have challenged myself to identify 20 before springtime. I have featured five bees now on my blog Bees in a French Garden so that leaves quite a lot left!
I have been looking at my seeds but it much to early to plant anything as they will need to be kept outside. So to amuse myself I have tried to grow some perennial poppies from a poppy left behind at my daughter’s old house. O.K. they will not likely turn out like the parent plant but it lets me grow something indoors.
I just left them under cling film on some moist vermiculite and some have gone mouldy but I have selected a few healthy ones to put into small pots.
It is working for the moment, but who knows? I enjoy watching them grow.
But now for an appeal!
Does anyone know if these could possibly be the dried remains of Tulip Tree (Liriodendron tulipifera) flowers? We only noticed them when we were pruning the Tulip tree. I cannot think what else they could be but I had read that Tulip trees take about 20 years before they flower and as we have planted it less then six years ago I do not think it could be that age.