Tuesday, 16 February 2016

GBBD: Snow again, fresh snowflakes too

Seriously careful steps were required yesterday during a back garden wander with a camera. Hard, thick ice coated the paths like badly made royal icing. Footsteps on the snow covered lawn barely made a footprint. Cold temperatures had encased the snow flurries of the weekend, in complete contrast to the heavy, melting snow releasing the garden back on January’s GBBD wander for flowers in bloom.

On the positive, a sunny lunchtime created great light and shadow around my wildlife pond making taking photos as fun as it can be with freezing fingers. Yesterday’s snow was definitely of the pretty kind but there was a single fresh snowflake that was the prettiest of them all…

Spring snowflake (Leucojum vernum), cousin of the snowdrop.


The gentle slope of the walled bed above the wildlife pond was deliberate so reflections are possible in the water below. Being a very small area, this bed is becoming a home to bulbs. This is their safe haven in my garden (apart from the ones that are in the lawn) and I have pledged to leave them in peace here. I am now being rewarded as this has become my favourite Spring area of the garden.


Early pale crocus, around it snowdrops just peeping through and tete a tete daffodils in the background. All down the slope from the snowflake.


Careful planting steps are required if adding any new bulbs to this area. That’s where keeping a blog and taking regular photos helps locate them all. Last week, the relocated Wendy moved in after having a brief greenhouse stay due to weather conditions following the journey from fellow garden blogger Anna’s garden. Thanks to 'himself' Wendy definitely travelled first class...


Snowdrop, galanthus plicatus 'Wendy's Gold' thanks to the generousity of
Anna at greentapestry's draw to give away a surplus bulb from her impressive
galanthus collection. Thanks also to ‘himself’ for picking my name out of the hat. Wendy has been given a prime spot with a great outlook :-)


I’m looking forward to seeing Wendy and all the other bulbs in this area giving not only a great show in future years but being allowed to bulk up (a new era for bulbs in my garden). This wildlife pond area was talked about for a long time before I committed to actually putting a liner down in October 2013 but it really has become a valuable addition to the garden.


Soft Rush, Juncus effusus (flower heads from last year)
frozen into the wildlife pond which was completely frozen over.


Alliums, globemaster perhaps, first glance thought they were tulips.
The pointed red tips were the big clue for the larger flowering Alliums


Front garden planting of Tulip Queen of the Night bulbs in the warmer soil
of last week! They were sprouting in their packets in the potting shed :-0


Reminder for February pruning of Wisteria to two sets of buds
(done on the 8th this year as the weather was warmer then).


Narcissi, Hellebore and Primula progress - flower buds about to open
(they’ll be in flower in England I suspect – GBBD posts will reveal all).


More views around the wildlife pond with special mention to the wild ginger, Asarum europaeum with its glossy leaves under planting the small Acer tree. Bulbs are happy to grow through it too :-)


So that’s almost it for the 2016 mid-February garden. Yesterday’s images captured the day shared by many other bloggers as they joined Carol at May Dreams Gardens for Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day (GBBD). If I went out with my camera today the images would be quite different.

Today, the temperature has gone up enough to melt the perilous paths of yesterday. The snow is melting away (although more forecasted for tomorrow). Strong winds have returned to shake the whole garden once more making it feel just as cold as yesterday.

Years of blogging have revealed that when you focus on one aspect of the garden for a blog post, something else comes along as if to say hello I’m here, take my photo and blog about me. Well, yesterday the first Blackcap to be seen in my garden in a few years did exactly that! What a surprise it was to see him as my camera was uploading my garden images to the PC.


Record video grab image of male Blackcap taken today. Dull, sheltered location hidden from the Sparrowhawk (more on this experiment another time).


Happy Bloom Day everyone, with special mention to the blooming garden bird population. Are you seeing plants, birds or any other wildlife just now that you weren’t expecting? If I hadn’t been out with my camera yesterday lunchtime I wouldn't have known that my pretty snowflake was in bloom or that a Blackcap was visiting.


This post was published by Shirley for shirls gardenwatch in February 2016.

8 comments:

pontos pontos said...

Una delle più belle caratteristiche dei bulbi è che riescono a sbucare e fiorire fuori dalla neve! Grazie per queste bellissime immagini!

Un saluto )

Angie said...

Nice to see the blackcap returning to your garden Shirley - I hope it becomes a regular now it has found a food source.
Doesn't the garden look amazing with just the right amount of snow - your looks wonderful, untouched and pristine. It is one of my wishes to eventually remove the decking in my garden, rejig a home for a new shed/greenhouse and create a good sized pond. One day I'll have a big enough budget for it all :)
Happy Bloom Day.

Janneke said...

Your beautiful snowflake looks amazing above the snow and what about the blackcap, I've never seen one in my garden.

Lisa Greenbow said...

Brrrrrr it looks cold in your garden. The snow is melting here thankfully. I am so ready for spring. My little clump of snowdrops are blooming but were under snow on the actual bloomday. Amazing what a day or two of above temps can do. I adore that snowflake blooming in your garden. It is darling. I don't think I have ever seen them before. The birds have been tested by a Cooper's Hawk here this winter too. They have to stay vigilant to stay alive. What a life. Happy GBBD.

Brian Skeys said...

We have had Blackcaps visit the garden every year since the very severe winter in 2010, I think. The female always arrives first about two to three weeks before the male. They are aggressive little birds she spends a lot of time chasing the other birds away from the feeders. It all seems to settle down when the male arrives.

Shirley said...

Hello again to you all, thanks for popping by and leaving your comments :-) I hope you too are enjoying seeing bulbs growing in your garden and out and about.

Pontos, thanks for stopping by and leaving your comment. I’ll translate it for others to read: “One of the nicest features of the bulbs is that they manage to emerge and flourish out of the snow! Thank you for these beautiful images! A greeting )” I absolutely agree with you there except when the snow is too thick and heavy on delicate smaller blooms. I like that they emerge of the frozen ground making me think of the gardening year ahead :-)

Angie, It certainly was, especially as the feeders are quieter generally as I’m moving them around to protect the birds from regular Sparrowhawk visits. I agree, this was just the right amount of snow. By the end of the next day rain washed it away, then overnight the slushy variety covered everything all over again. It’s certainly seesaw weather just now. Back to ice tonight. Regarding building a pond, I’d 100% recommend it. I didn’t make things easy for myself by the way I did it (planning posting on it all during March but that’s possibly jinxed it). As for the cost, I requested part parcel, part cash towards my pond build for Mother’s Day, Birthdays and Christmas and saved it all up for my pond which made all the more special for me. All the books say build your pond as big as you can and I’d agree with that. I’m still learning with mine and I hope I can help others by my mistakes. I also hope to share the joy mine has given me :-)

Janneke, that snowflake is just so delightful. It should be much taller but maybe it will stretch up yet. That Blackcap has been great to see. I set up my trail camera to see if I could catch where it might be feeding as it is quite a shy bird (although quite a bossy boots in company) as didn’t expect to catch its visit with my regular video camera – but I did as the photo above shows. It was fun watching the trail camera footage last night and seeing how the Blackcap behaved with the other bits. It definitely responded with the Robin, Dunnock and Blackbirds when they got spooked with the wind and rushed for cover. It was also the last daylight capture of a bird feeding too (it was enjoying the piece of fat block most).

Lisa, it was pretty chilly! I bet you are especially ready for Spring this year :-) I’m looking forward to following your blogs on all your garden projects. Yep, the snowflake is a cutie that’s for sure. Yes, seriously vigilant – I’m trying to help them with an experiment. It’s working for some of the birds, I’m thinking anyway.

Brian, I do remember you mentioning your Blackcap visitors. New Year’s Day 2007 was when it first made an appearance here, but they seem to just pass through every few years so there really isn’t a set time they appear. Absolutely agree on them being little bossy boots – I’ve seen them in action too. I like that they have a pattern with yours and I’m guessing that they nest in your area :-)

Sue Garrett said...

I keep meaning to grow some snowflakes - thankfully none of the other kind here.

How lovely to have a blackcap we have only ever had (noticed) one female in out gsrden

Shirley said...

Hello again, Sue, I would absolutely recommend snowflakes of the plant kind! It was great to see the Blackcap and all the more as their visits are just passing through. It stayed a few weeks this time. They don't nest here. It's great you've seen the female - perhaps they nest in your area :-)