Saturday, 9 February 2008

a witch in the garden

Early February, and there is a widespread but mild frost across central England. This has been another mild winter with an obvious and inevitable impact on wildlife. Hedgehogs emerge from a fitful hibernation and butterflies stumble out into the pale sunshine too early.
There is very little that we can do on an individual basis about these changes but we can do a little local mitigation.
Plants that yield early pollen may be a lifesaver to insects that have emerged early. Our native snowdrops are now in flower and in sunny positions the beautiful primrose is already a patch of golden flowers.
The witch hazel (hamamelis) is a North American import but flowers abundantly for months when nothing else is offering nectar. We planted this variety, 'Arnold Surprise' , as part of the garden redesign and although still small is a spectacular addition.
I'm sure that the local insects will benefit.
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