ginger coloured bee

I found the first Andrena fulva – tawny mining bee – whilst weeding the garden today. This is a solitary bee which nests underground, building a volcano-like mound of soil around the entrance to its burrow. They generally emerge in April, so this one is a few weeks early.

ginger coloured bee

The tawny mining bee, Andrena fulva

I also found a queen wasp and two honey bees emerging from hibernation in our conservatory, where they have spent the winter.

Spring is definitely in the air; tomorrow is the Spring Equinox so we can look forward to longer days and next weekend 26 March, we move on to British Summer Time when the clocks go forward an hour.

 

Spring is the time of year when it is summer in the sun and winter in the shade.

Charles Dickens, Great Expectations.

© 2017 Lavender Hedge

 

Arbutus unedo flowering

Arbutus unedo, one of my favourite trees is flowering in my garden at the moment. Also known as the Strawberry tree, it has pink tinged white, bell-shaped flowers which hang in clusters from the branches and which are magnets for bees and butterflies.

Arbutus unedo flowering

The strawberry tree is full bloom is a fantastic sight

Flowers and fruit of arbutus unedo

Flowers and fruit appear at the same time

These flowers will become next years fruit, which unusually appear at the same time as the flowers. The fruit is said to be edible, but doesn’t taste like a strawberry, and can be used to make jam or liqueur. The birds eat them before I get chance to!

Arbus unedo is an evergreen shrub with a bushy habit. However, you can prune the bottom branches off so that it reveals the brown-red bark which peels rather attractively. It is a member of the Ericaceae family so the leaves go yellow if it is not on acid soil – I give mine an Ericaceous feed.

On a miserable, dull day, this little string of berries seem to light up out of the greyness! I like to grow shrubs and trees that produce berries, so that the birds have some food in the winter.

String o' Berries

A cold, foggy morning at this time of year is always exciting as there are so many cobwebs in the garden which get covered in water droplets, making them look like necklaces!

Cobweb covered in water droplets