January was so cold and I became so impatient to see the Hellebores open.  My Hellebores have obligingly self-seeded and I have tenderly spread them throughout the garden knowing how much I appreciate their colour and the number of bees that they attract in the early warm days of the year.

They are beautiful plants and provide both nectar and pollen for the bees.  The green tubes that you can see behind the bee in the last picture, are the hellebore nectaries.  There is an excellent site if you want more of an insight into the botany of Hellebores with superb photographs.

Sarcococca confusa

The winter flowers of the Sarcococca confusa are as important to me as to the bees and they bring their perfume to assure me that spring will not be long in coming.


The crocus bring the longed for colour – no matter what the weather is like.

1st Flowers plum tree

The plum tree is just as impatient to flower, but with the first flowers opening so early I doubt whether the fruits will survive.  It is two years since we have tasted the plums as although these signs are encouraging, winter will not have finished with us yet.

1st pollen 17.2.19

The willow near the bee hives is covered with soft pussy willow and I saw the male stamens break out with their yellow pollen today.  If the weather keeps good the tree will soon be covered with bees of all sorts.


The carpenter bees (Xylocopa violacea) have returned.

Carder bumble bee.JPGMore and more queen bumble bees are topping up on nectar, but I have not seen any gathering pollen yet (they know it is too early.)

Red Admiral

The butterflies are around too.  I think this Red Admiral must have overwintered somewhere judging by the condition of the wings.

Macroglossum stellatarum

However, I was surprised to see a Hummingbird Hawk-Moth (Macroglossum stellatarum) so early.

Bumble on Hellebore

All in all I feel disoriented by this spell of clement, sunny weather with temperatures going up to 17 degrees centigrade sometimes in the afternoon.

Perhaps not so disoriented as the bumble bee above who seemed to be looking for nectar in the wrong place.

Two bumble bees inside Hellebore

But finally we can take a lesson from these two bumble bees.  Life is not all about rushing to get nectar.  We need to make choices and decide to just enjoy it sometimes.



26 thoughts on “Springtime?

  1. Janine

    Thank you for posting the wonderful photographs. So encouraging that Spring will surely come again.
    Lots of snow here last week and temperatures below zero. Each evening we would bring in the hummingbird feeder and put it our before dawn each morning. It has been such a joy to see the Annas’ each morning as we despair they might not survive the cold nights.
    The sarcococca at my entry gate welcomes all with its fragrance as they enter our garden.
    All the best for a wonderful year ahead.
    Regards Janine
    Tsawwassen, just south of Vancouver BC

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Still snowed in here in the Cascade foothills north of Seattle, slid a chained up car to the road (which has been plowed) yesterday, so can hike down and drive for groceries. No spring yet, but I know it’s there under the snow. Your photos make me smile, thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. janesmudgeegarden

    Lovely to see your photos of insects enjoying your flowers. We have a worrying decline in insect numbers and I’m not seeing many in my garden. We are in drought, and have had a very hot summer, and I expect this accounts for some of the decline: I hope to see more when the weather cools down a bit.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Lovely to see all these signs of spring emerging. The last photo is particularly delightful. The bees in my garden are not so many at the moment. I think it is too dry and hot. The cicadas are loving the weather, though.

    Liked by 1 person

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