This is my favourite time in the garden when my plum tree is in flower. It heralds the official opening of springtime in the garden.
It attracts honey bees in their hundreds to fill the canopy with a constant motion and buzz that adds to the cloud of its special bitter sweet perfume that floats over the garden.
The bumble bees like to take the top flowers but this one has fallen asleep and stayed for the night amongst the flowers.
The carpenters have been very active early this year and visit the plum tree as well as the spring flowers.
The plum tree is not the first tree to provide pollen to the bees. We have a willow at the bottom of the garden which I think is a goat willow (Salix caprea). It is an old tree which we have inherited but it provides the much needed pollen very early in the year.
At this time of year it is mainly honey bees that come and load up with the pollen.
There are also wild bees like this one and bumble bees that need the valuable pollen.
The apricot blossom just doesn’t do it for the bees. It comes a poor third choice when the plum and the willow are flowering. I have a feeling that the apricot tree produces flowers at intervals so that it can increase its chances of fruiting in case it produces flowers when there are not so many pollinators around. I’ll try and keep a closer eye on it this year.
The spring flowers provide colour in the borders.
And the daffodils brighten up a day when a thick grey blanket of cloud covers the sky and prevents any chance of a glimpse of the solar eclipse.
The Hellebore provide lots of pollen too but it seems to be more appreciated by the bumble bees.
The bumble bees are difficult to see in the Hellebore but their loud buzzing gives them away.
My plum tree is so important in the garden that I can’t quite imagine the garden without it. In the summer it provides a cool parasol to dine under. Its strong branches can support a swing. It even has its own bee hotel!
That is why we were excited to notice what looked like a baby growing in the hedge nearby. We looked after it and planted it out last autumn. We were not sure if we had been looking after a “foundling” and that it would turn out to be another tree but this year it has flowered for the first time. The flowers looks the same as our plum tree and it has flowered with it at this early time, so we are very happy that the plum tree is not on its own any more.