I am very fond of early ﬂowering shrubs, not simply for their form and colour, but for all they have to oﬀer to wildlife. Chaenomeles speciosa ‘Falconnet Charlet’ and Chaenomeles speciosa ‘Nivalis’ have been ﬂowering and attracting pollinators for weeks - in the case of ‘Falconnet Charlet’ since 2018!
Here in rural Norfolk, the chives are still ﬂowering as if it’s summer, as are the delphiniums and geraniums. New blooms are opening on roses and mingling with plump glossy red hips. Winter is taking its time to arrive; it clearly hasn’t read the barrage of reports screaming that next week our gardens will be at the mercy of plummeting temperatures, snow and ice.
October can be so unpredictable! In some years we are up to our ears in thermals, wondering if we have skipped autumn altogether in favour of winter; then the next year we might be out and about in summer clothes as if it's mid-July
Despite a challenging winter and spring, the growers and exhibitors at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2018 have succeeded in bringing together a beautiful array of flowers grown to perfection. With so many delights on offer, which plants do bees go for? And for those of us on the lookout for something a little different, are there new plants to suit us as well as pollinators?
If you’re anything like me, you’ll be chomping at the bit to get outside and sink your hands into the soil. If you garden on clay though, you will require so many pairs of thermal gardening gloves to cope that you won’t be able to move your fingers.
Menu planning now for pollinators in winter and spring might seem like hosting a banquet with no confirmed guests, but since I have seen butterflies or bees in my garden during every month of the year, I don’t believe that any consideration of their needs is a waste of my time.
There is still so much to look forward to, and it appears that the bees cannot wait. Although not quite flowering, Sedum is smothered in bees. It is as if they are impatiently knocking on the closed door of the best bar in town. Perhaps I should point them in the direction of the cardoon saloon.
There is so much forage available in the countryside surrounding my home that I am amazed to see pollinators showing interest in my borders in June. New garden flowers are opening daily and proving their wildlife credentials by attracting a plethora of pollinators.
Fresh flowers are opening daily and long-term spring bloomers such as Pulmonaria ‘Diana Clare’ and Aubrieta are still going strong. No one could ever accuse them of being members of the blink-and-they’re-gone brigade. It is the moment for Wisteria to strut its stuff.