Winter blues…

…and pinks, oranges, yellows and greens…

November colour

I’m delighted with the flowers still blooming in the garden. They’re not even bedraggled and just clinging on – they’re still budding and growing new flowers! (probably at least partly due to the unseasonably mild weather). I’ve not seen many bees about recently, but if any late ones out and about need a boost/something to help them get through the winter if they’ve decided to stay active (like many Buff-tailed bumblebees are known to do in warmer areas), then hopefully this will lend them a helping hand.

The Bumblebee Conservation Trust advise growing Mahonia, winter heather, winter-flowering honeysuckle and snowdrop to support bees that are active during winter. My contribution so far consists of a lovely pot of heather which has the added bonus of providing beautiful colours as the summer flowers slowly disappear.

Time capsules

I finally planted my bulbs last week that I was kindly given for my Birthday. All going well, lots of little yellow Winter Aconites will start popping up in planters and pots later in the winter, and plenty of the bee-pleasing pom-poms that are Alliums will follow in the spring-summer.

I absolutely love plonking the little bulbs of life into the soil. It’s like burying a time capsule that will safely sleep underground until they’re eventually awakened by the changing seasons.

No need to break the bank

A couple of cost-free wildlife-friendly things I’ve done in the garden recently:

  • Saving seeds – some flowers produce a great number of seeds which are easy to save and plant. One of the best producers I have is the hollyhock – it has probably self-seeded anyway but I left all the flowers until they’d finished drying out and then collected some seed pods to plant in the future. There were several busy bees on the open, welcoming flowers at a time all summer and planting out more can only be a good thing for them! I also only just learned that birds can eat the seeds (has anyone else experienced this?) so leaving the stems standing with lots of seeds in there might help provide some food for the birds too. That will help the hollyhocks to self-seed and save a bit of money on bird feed too… win-win!
  • Leaving leaves – it is possible to have a bit of control whilst also leaving areas for wildlife. I have cut back a bit of “wild” foliage in the interest of tidiness (not excessively so, but half of one planter had turned into a complete mat of vetch which was drowning out everything else, so a bit of a haircut happened). I also removed some dead leaves from a few plants just so they didn’t look too sorry for themselves. However, I’ve kept some little piles of leaves to provide cover for whoever might use it (very small piles as I don’t have much space or many leaves, but hopefully they might at least provide a bit of cover for some invertebrates).

I also collected some leaves locally for an area I wanted to provide some potential “bedding” for hedgehogs – some cosy piles of leaves around the hedgehog house! They’ve been going in and out of the house but not shown much interest in moving leaves inside. At least it’s all there in case anyone realises they still need to find somewhere to spend the winter.

What better way to fend off any winter blues than a bit of colour and knowing that you’re doing what you can to help the little guys get through it? ❤

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