February continues

We have had some long-awaited sunny days. One day the temperature rose to 17 degrees Centigrade. Our old plum tree is flowering but we are back to the cold and overnight it drops so low that a thin layer of ice has to be broken from the birds’ water in the morning.

The grass has started to grow and the Speedwell (Veronica persica) has decided it is time to flower so there are plenty of blue patches in the grass for the bees. The bees do not stay long on each flower and I feel it must be such a little reward of nectar from each flower.

The Viburnum tinus is much more generous and provides a bountiful supply of winter pollen. We find it a very useful hedging plant and have it in several places in the garden. The plants in the shadier spots flower later and prolong the availability for the bees.

I planted three Cornus mas as I had read that the flowers were attractive to bees. They have just started properly flowering this year but so far the bees seem unimpressed. Still, they have very pretty flowers.

The Hellebores are starting to cheer up the garden and they are certainly welcomed by the bees.

Kourosh grows a Lemon tree in a pot. Although it is small it produced 52 lemons last year. It cannot stay outside in the winter so we bring it in to the spare bedroom. Last week we were so pleased with the sunny days that we took it onto the terrace for its mid-winter summer break.

We kept a careful eye on the weather forecast and put it back into the bedroom when the temperatures dropped again.

I’m sure it is looking forward to the sunshine as much as we are.

February 2023

After the longest spell of dull weather that I have experienced here, we plunged into the cold.

Some plants, like this Camelia protect their flower buds and remain in bud until hopefully the weather turns clement.

The Hellebores have suffered all summer from the excessive sun and heat with a lot of their leaves being scorched. The cold has further retarded their normal blooming time.

The Chimonanthus praecox has shrugged off all the contrarieties of the weather and has given us the most flowers it ever has. There have been plenty of twigs full of flowers to cut and bring indoors to enjoy the perfume.

Not all the Chimonanthus flowers escaped the hard frost but in the warmer days the flowers perfume can be appreciated from a distance.

Now we are in a warm spell and the bees are excitedly gathering pollen.

Every year I search amongst the hazel catkins for the red hazel flowers. They fascinate me and I find them so beautiful. They remind me of sea anemones. I have never managed to take a photograph of them that I am satisfied with. The petals resist the camera. I suppose the answer is to cut off a branch but it seems such a shame. I would appreciate any hints from photographers for next year.

So, after the gloom and the cold, I hesitate to believe that we can glide gently into a normal spring. For one thing, the soil is drying out and we have not had our normal supply of rain to help push the spring bulbs through.

A few more warm sunny days should lift my pessimism.