If I had only one word to describe the garden today it would be “Hellebores”. I did not do my usual moving of self-seeded plants last autumn but the plants I have moved in previous years are providing so many flowers after another dark, damp week here. The bees love them and gather the pollen until the flower ages and the stamens fall off.

The noisiest part of the garden is near the plum tree, although patches of Hellebore try to rival the plum tree for the highest “buzz” volume.

The plum tree opened up this week but today was the first sunny day that we could appreciate it properly. The flowers are full of honey bees, bumblebees and other pollinators.

We are told that hazel pollen is a very important early pollen for bees. I never see our catkins mobbed with bees like some of our flowers so I was glad to catch this bee this morning with a heavy load of hazel pollen.

Likewise I have recently added Cornus mas or Cornelian Cherry to the garden as the pollen is supposed to be high in protein so I was glad to see the bees on the flowers.

Eriobotrya japonica – will we have fruit this year?
The Viburnum tinus is just opening and will supply pollen to the bees for a long time yet.

Our first Camelia flower opened today. I hope we will be having more sunny days to enjoy it when it is fully opened.

Rain or sun we can watch our birds from the windows.

This plant tray stays outside our kitchen window and is the bathing place for the birds.

Kourosh thinks it is some type of warbler. Its feathers look incredibly downy.


22 thoughts on “Hellebores

  1. It’s always amazing to see that our gardens, although thousands of miles apart across a continent and ocean, often have so many similar plants and bloom times! I smiled when you mentioned the buzz factor: “The noisiest part of the garden is near the plum tree….”. Same here! And, I didn’t know that hazelnut catkins are important for bees. I’m so glad to learn that. I’ve never noticed or looked for them on the catkins. Now I will.

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  2. I am sure I saw a camellia here in flower but with the storms this weekend (including snow), it can’t have been too happy!

    Sadly, I doubt the bees will be out enjoying my hellebores and hazel catkins but it is good to know that on a warm day there will be food for them.

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    1. One of the problems with early flowering plants is that some years they suffer damage. I am keeping my fingers crossed that we are over the worst now but we can have short overnight freezes until the middle of May here. Amelia


  3. Interesting to see how your garden is doing. Hellebores are out here too and on sunny days I have seen bees on them, plum not out yet but there are plenty of hazel catkins although they dont seem very popular with pollinators. What species of bee is that on your viburnum?

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    1. Interesting that you don’t see much interest on the hazel catkins either! It is just a honeybee on the tinus. I have not seen any wild bees yet but it has been so dull and cloudy that I have not been as assiduous in looking for them this year. Amelia


  4. That’s a lovely plum tree, nice to see it so busy with bees. Very sweet bird too. I don’t think I have ever seen a bee on the hazel catkins but I will keep an eye out – it’s popular with our bluetits and finches which are nibbling something on the stems – buds or insects maybe.

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    1. It is much more difficult to see what the birds are up to. I suppose that is what I find endearing about the bees. They let me get up close. I suppose that is not really true. I sneak up and spy on them and they do not notice :(. Amelia

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  5. Seasons are so regional. It is fascinating. Our camellias are finishing bloom, but the stone fruits are just beginning. This could be a bad year for the stone fruits, if rain resumes while they are blooming or trying to set fruit. There has been no significant rain this year, so they are easily confused.

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      1. Winter here is normal by my standards, but is certainly not like winter elsewhere. It does not get very cold here, although we do enough chill for plants that need it, and occasionally experience minor frost. Rain is the critical factor though. Winter is the rainy season. It should be raining now. There is still time for more rain, and it is common to get some after an extended dry spell. Nonetheless, the longer it is delayed, the less likely it becomes. Rain is unlikely after April, and will not resume until next autumn or winter.

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          1. It is what I know. It can be boring, and even by my standards, it can be dry. Plants that require more sustained chill, such as some types of apples, do not perform well here, even though the Santa Clara Valley used to be famous for other orchards. Except for the mountain tops, there is no snow.
            However, because of the coastal mountains, there are more climates within a few miles of here than there are in most other states. Heck, I can walk to more climate zones in an hour than there are in the entire state of Oklahoma. The average rainfall here is about three times the average rainfall of my former neighborhood, which is only a few miles away, and got about a foot of rain annually. (So, although dry for most of the year, and adjacent to chaparral climates, about three feet of rain falls here within a brief rainy season.) The frequency or rain is similar in both regions, but the volume of rain is very different. The variety of climates here is why the ‘entertainment’ industry (cinema and television) was based in Niles (in Alameda County) before relocating to the Los Angeles Region.

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              1. Guests at the Conference Center where I work for a few days weekly enjoy the few riverside hiking trails here very much. Tourists enjoy the few State Parks near here. There is nothing like this region anywhere else in the World. The coastal redwoods are the tallest trees in the World. I enjoy it all very much also, but probably not as much as those who have never experienced anything like it before. I lived with it all my life. I find the vastness of the Mojave Desert to be just as fascinating, and would very much like to experience snow. In fact, when I considered finding a cabin to retire in for part of the winter, I investigated homes near Trona. The ground is so caustically saline that there is very little vegetation. It is the best place for someone like me to avoid distractions.

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    1. I think that before agriculture took over that the bees here would be foraging throughout the year in the good weather. At the moment the gorse in the wild is equalling the bright Mimosa in peoples’ gardens. I don’t grow gorse in the garden though. The bees have to wait for a good day and fly a bit further. Amelia

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