Monday, 28 February 2011

Stirring from hibernation

Pussy Willow (Salix sp) against a blue sky
I'm starting to stir from my winter hibernation and get out into the garden as new life burgeons all around - how hard I find it to do so when days are short, windy, wet and dark! But I'm horrified to see I haven't blogged the garden since July...

The other morning frogs were croaking in the patio pond - lo and behold, there was the frogspawn heralding this years tadpoles.

The birds Susanna has been assiduously feeding all winter are developing their breeding plummage and becoming even more agressive around the feeding stations. It's sad to record that tit numbers were greatly reduced in the hard weather. A pair of Blue Tits and a couple of pairs of Great Tits remained all winter with us, but the Coal Tits disappeared altogether, though I'm glad to say I saw one again yesterday. In consolation however we have been overrun all winter long with Goldfinches feeding on Niger seed.

And one of our hares has returned, a doe I think - I hope it does less damage than a couple of years ago.

Here are some photos of Spring flowers in the garden today, blooming their little socks off - how it raises the spirits! The only dark cloud on the horizon is that I can't get the mower to start to clear up the last of the autumn leaves.
Primula vulgaris sibthorpii
Helleborus orientalis in the wilderness

A drift of yellow dutch crocuses in the meadow

Clump of yellow dutch crocuses

Blue and yellow dutch crocuses

Daffodils about to burst

Cream-coloured Crocus crysanthus

Catkins on Corylus contortus


Daniel & Sonja said...

Great pictures and a lovely description of Spring in your garden. Forgive my ignorance but I now know that we have a "Pussy Willow" too - I was looking at it last week and wondering what it was!

Joc Sanders said...

Thanks, Daniel. But you are too kind about my pictures - I only wish mine were a tenth as accomplished as yours!

In my Cambridgeshire childhood pussy willow was used as palm on Palm Sunday, as Irish folk use yew or cyprus - a piece would be given to everyone in the congregation. I enjoy the memories of going out into the fen woodland with a long-arm to cut it. With Easter so late this year I expect there would be a bit of trouble finding it, if the tradition still lives on at all.