Snowdrops

14 February 2013

We’ve had the first sunshine for days today – a great boost to the spirits. My snowdrops have been out for a while, but the flowers only open completely when it’s sunny, so I’ve been waiting to catch a photo of them.  I’ve got them under the bushes all down one side of the garden: they don’t do so well on the other side. It’s a bit early for any wildlife to make use of them, but any bee that comes out of hibernation early might try them, and a butterfly was seen nectaring on snowdrops (not by me) last year, but that is really rare.

Snowdrops

Snowdrops

 

Providing plants that flower early to provide nectar for early butterflies and bees is very important: there isn’t much around, and the insect will be in need of a quick fuel boost. 

For me, the best early plant for bees is red dead-nettle, and the best for butterflies is the humble dandelion. Yes, I know it’s a weed, but have you ever stopped and really looked at one? They are beautiful flowers, and not only will the odd early butterfly enjoy them, but if you can leave a few seedheads, the goldfinches will enjoy them too – and you can’t say they are difficult to grow! 

Peacock butterfly on dandelion

Peacock on dandelion

If you insist on flowers you don’t think of as weeds, very early flowers could include crocus, narcissi and aubretia. A little while after those come pernennial wallflowers (erysimums), sweet rocket (hesperis matronalis) and honesty.

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3 Comments to “Snowdrops”

  1. I LOVE the advent of the first snowdrops! Close call here in January, but then . . . . well if you see my home page you’ll get the picture.

  2. I must start thinking about getting some early nectar plants for the bees and butterlies. Thank you for suggesting some ideas. I’m delighted to hear dandelions are good, as I get plenty of those without even trying….and now I have a wonderful excuse for leaving them be!

    • Start gardening for moths as well a butterflies, and you have an excuse for practically any “weed” in your garden. Something like 60 different moth species feed on brambles, for example!

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