Blackthorn?

Flowers from a bush in our garden, tentatively matched in the Spring 2021 issue of the Staffordshire Wildlife Trust Magazine, page 13 in the Nature Spy section.

It says ‘Blackthorn is one of the first native shrubs to burst into flower around mid-Marsh.’ (I think it means March) ‘Its fluffy white flowers, tinged with pink, provide vital nectar for the first of the years butterflies, bees and flies. See how many different insects you can spot feeding on the blooms.’

Daliah?

Are they? I think they are. Seen by my friend during a walk. They were in a garden along the canal. These were such a bright colour she took a photo of them.

Flowers are wonderful thing, such amazing structures, with colours outside of the visible spectrum that attract insects to pollinate them. They sometimes use the ultraviolet end of the spectrum to show insects where their nectar is. The trouble with flowers like these is that there are so many petals that the insects can’t get at the nectar. The human intervention of breeding flowers could have a detrimental effect on insect life. There are plants that are advertised as bee friendly, but sometimes that’s all it is, an advert. Single flowered plants are probably best.

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Bees…

Apparently they are more and more at risk. Bees pollenate the vast majority of flowering plants on the Earth, and their counterparts including hoverflies are also under threat.

What with? Insecticides, that are used to control insect pests. These include Neonicotinoids that have been found to disorientated bees (as well as killing them) so they cannot find food.  Without them we would not have fruit and vegetables. But unfortunately big pharmaceutical companies keep wanting to sell insecticides. There have been court cases that stopped their use. But they fight back.

If only we could use non invasive alternatives. Biological treatments that would eat pests. Like nematode worms, for instance. The problem is humans need quick solutions to save crops from things like locusts. But I think we should use these things sparingly. There are many ecological and moral questions and problems. I hope we can sort it out.

Cold garden

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Ladybirds sleep,

Tucked in the crook of a branch.

Butterflies hang dormant,

asleep in shed roofs.

Frogs start to spawn

ignoring the cold and ice.

Plants hunker down,

below the ground.

Fish are deep in the pond,

torpid, sleepy, quiet.

Where are the bats?

Hibernating in a loft,

huddled and shivering,

waiting for warmth.

Last years temperature was 21°C

Today it is 3°C…….

Cold garden

chilled fingers,

icy wind,

frozen nose….

Webs

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Someone said its spider mating season

It’s webby in the summerhouse

It’s webby in the shed

There’s more silk than a silk kimono

Slung along the hedge.

The spiders spin such grand big webs

They catch the birds on high

They set great traps for insects,

And grab them from the sky!

A huge big spider

Came to visit

And stayed for a year

Now its little offspring

Are always very near!

Tulips

Joyful tulips. Gentle flowers.

Mixed with some white flowers that look a bit like roses, but are something else. These were my valentines day present. They are keeping well. I love the way they open up. The stems bend and buckle depending on how much water they have. When the water level falls they droop. I’ve given them a bit of plant food to keep them going

I was thinking about why a lot of my flowers in my garden had kept flowering late into November and December last year. Then yesterday I heard a report that about 40% of the world’s insect population has disappeared in the last few years. Could it be that they are not around to pollinate my garden flowers. And if they are not here for flowers what about fruit and crops.

Recent bans on nicotinoid pesticides may be lifted although they have been implicated in the death of bees.

The world’s ecology must come first. Otherwise the life of all plants that need pollenation by insects may be seriously at risk.