The arrival of the newts

8 February 2013

Fantastic – the first newts have arrived in the pond. Only two so far, but it will build to 20 or 30 at the height of the season, and it’s another sign Spring is on its way.

I haven’t been able to get out to do very much in the garden recently – if it’s not raining, it’s so wet underfoot that it isn’t wise to tread on the soil. I leave all the top growth of plants over the winter, as it is good cover for insects (which are food for the birds) and I think it helps protect the young plant shoots when they come up. At this time of year, I start gently clearing them, going first for those which have fallen over, and those without any seed heads on them.

Small Tortoiseshell, Holly Blue and a bee on sedum spectabile

Small Tortoiseshell, Holly Blue and a bee on sedum spectabile

Sedum is one which can have the old stems chopped out now: the new shoots are starting, and they are amazingly tough. There is one type of sedum which is particularly good for butterflies: sedum spectablile, or ice plant, which comes in shades of pink and white. There is a variety of sedum called Autumn Joy which is often sold as good for butterflies, but whether this is true is questioned by some people; perhaps it depends where the plant is within the garden – butterflies will generally nectar on flowers in the sun, but not in the shade.

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One Comment to “The arrival of the newts”

  1. I’ve been on the hunt for migrating toads but so far without any luck. Must grab a torch and venture out after dark some time.

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