One of the brightest sights in the back garden in the winter is the morning sun shining on the willows, about half way down the back garden. They light up the garden when there is very little else but it is now time for their annual haircut and I was reflecting on how long it can take to get the required effect in a garden.
This was what they looked like in January 2014 in my blog https://afrenchgarden.wordpress.com/2014/01/09/onward-in-january/
This is what they look like in February 2019.
The garden takes time to take form.
It takes time for the winter flowering honeysuckle to get to a size to attract the butterflies like this Comma,
and the Clouded Yellow butterfly (Sorry, Brimstone, thanks to my sharp readers)
and the bumble bees, even in February.
I saw our first Osmia cornuta on the 22 February.
Now the bee boxes are patiently searched every day, waiting for the females to emerge.
Sometimes hope turns to disappointment when the emerging bee turns out to be just another male emerging.
They will need plenty of patience to keep up their enthusiasm until the females will eventually emerge, often in mid-March.
There are signs of good things to come.
This year there are a lot of flowers on the hazelnut tree but whether we will eat many or not remains to be seen. The red squirrels around here keep to the areas with pine trees. We are not in these areas but I have a feeling some of them spend an autumn break in our garden when the hazelnuts ripen as the hazelnuts disappear, shells and all, every year.
We have plenty of wild bees in the garden too this spring.
It is not just the garden plants that give plenty of nectar. The dandelions are great for all the bees and this one is also being shared with a clouded yellow butterfly.
But already the mining bee nests are being patrolled by the Nomada bees that are “cuckoo bees” and will lay their eggs in the mining bees’ nests so that their eggs are provisioned by other bees just as the cuckoo is brought up by other birds.
But patience can be rewarded as the sheep in our neighbour’s field has discovered. Number two lamb took time in coming and was a bit smaller.
But the tired face says that it was all worth it.