It has been remarkably mild over past few days and at this rate it shouldn't be long before nature begins to stir itself. Although soil temperature can be important I consider, as I have previously remarked, that day-length is the most important factor in the vernal development of plants.
Some twenty or so years ago Chris and I went to Andorra on what was billed as a skiing trip, but we deliberately chose a late date in the expectation that the valleys and lower mountain slopes would be free of snow. We were rather thwarted in our plans as late, heavy snow arrived, but not before we had visited low ground and sought out some of the flowers.
|Our solitary Mezereon specimen|
26 December, 2015
I mention this because Mezereon, Daphne mezereum, was one of the plants we found in flower. I have always loved Mezereon for its early and intensely fragrant blooms, and when I checked our one specimen today the first, tentative flower had appeared. In a couple of weeks it should be wreathed in purple.
|... and the solitary flower that has just appeared.|
26 December, 2015
In fact this species was not recorded in the wild in Britain prior to 1752 so perhaps this presumed indigene is not a native at all; such a distinctive plant would surely not have been overlooked.
Be that as it may, I intend to cherish my plant and will probably remove it from its pot and give it a more prominent place in the front garden.
What of the coming year?
Santa, in the shape of my wife, bought me Steven Falk's recent superb book on British bees. Even though he is a excellent artist himself (I have one of his works hanging on the nearby wall as I compose this) 'Falky' has got Richard Lewington to do the illustrations - and very fine they are too. I understand that the first print run rapidly sold out and another is being produced. Not bad for a book of its type! Perhaps concern about the parlous state of some of our bees has kindled extra interest.
Hitherto my records of bees from such places as Kentle Wood have been scant. There is now no reason why I shouldn't be able to greatly extend the list.
With that project, and a number of others I have in mind, the months ahead should be quite exciting.