Winter Hiding, Spring Found

Caterpillar

The weather has finally picked up this Easter holiday week, and the sun showed up and persuaded me to get busy in the garden. I lifted the top of my bird bath and what should I find hiding beneath in a finely woven silken retreat, but this larva of some species or another. I did not wish to disturb it any longer, so I took my shots and covered it back over again.

Caterpillar

It does look  rather snug in there. Imagine having a bed and duvet like that?

 


Double click on images to enlarge.


April 2018, rear garden, Staffordshire, England. © Pete Hillman

Wild Cherry Blossom

Wild Cherry Prunus avium

The neighbour at the bottom of my garden has a wonderful cherry tree growing near my fence, and the blossoms which appear are beautiful and buzzing and alive with insects. Her husband, now departed,  planted it as a cherry stone many, many years ago.


Wild Cherry (Prunus avium), garden, Staffordshire, England. April 2017.

Red Tulips

Tulip

The tulips growing near the grass verge in my front garden are blooming now. After returning home from work this evening I couldn’t resist getting a few shots in whilst the sun was out at play.

Tulip

Tulip

Tulip

Flowering Pond

Garden Pond

I finally got around to changing my macro lens for my wide-angle. No big deal really, but I so love my macro. Anyway, it has been such a lovely spring day today with wall to wall sunshine, and for the first time this year it has been warm enough to chill (sounds like a contradiction) by the pond and enjoy the world as it passes slowly and serenely. Sometimes it is the simple things in life, which are totally free, which give one the most pleasure.

Marsh Marigold Caltha palustris

The Marsh Marigold is just pure joy with the light filtering through its golden-yellow petals. When I planted it in the shallows last year I did not know whether it would survive let alone flower. Growing water plants is new to me, and there is always some trepidation when attempting something new, but I guess they do all the hard work, the plants, as I all I do is just remove the dead and tidy up a little around them. So with multiple blooms on the Marsh Marigold I have been quite happy with the results so far.

Marsh Marigold Caltha palustris

Marsh Marigold Caltha palustris

 

Variegated Greater Periwinkle

Vinca major ‘Variegata’

Variegated greater periwinkle (Vinca major 'Variegata')

Another flower is showing its pretty head this spring. This evergreen perennial has always been in my garden for as long as I can remember living here. It is very much the ground hugger, creeping like a vine through the flowerbeds, and then showing these splashes of violet-blue flowers. The flowers will show on and off between now and autumn. The green foliage is blotched with a creamy white margin. It grows in full sun or dense shade, and acts as a weed suppressor.

Variegated greater periwinkle (Vinca major 'Variegata')

Yellow Spring Crocus

Crocus Gargaricus

Yellow Spring Crocus Crocus Gargaricus

I came across this very bright yellow crocus growing under a tree on a playing field. It is usually found in damp grassland and open woodland. It originates from NW Turkey, and has spread as a garden or park escape where it has becoem naturalised.

Yellow Spring Crocus Crocus Gargaricus


March 2012, local park, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2012.

Spring Coming Early

Snowdrop (Galanthus nivalis)

I have noticed the Snowdrops pushing through the earth and beginning to blossom already in my front garden. They are a beautiful sight to see.

Snowdrop (Galanthus nivalis)

Snowdrop (Galanthus nivalis)

Snowdrop (Galanthus nivalis)


January 2017, front garden, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2017. Camera used Nikon D7200 with Sigma 105mm macro lens.

Snowdrop

Galanthus nivalis

Snowdrop (Galanthus nivalis)

The Snowdrop is amongst the earliest plants to flower in spring. Produced from bulbs, the flowers are a delicate virgin white, as the colour of snow, and the heads droop downwards, hence its vernacular name. Each flower has three spreading sepals, and three much shorter notched petals with a pale green marking. The leaves are basal, and strap-shaped.

Snowdrop (Galanthus nivalis)

Snowdrop (Galanthus nivalis)

It flowers February to March, often pushing its way through snow-covered ground. Found in damp woodland, scrub, shaded meadows, hedge banks, parks and churchyards. Most likely an introduced species, and widely cultivated for parks and gardens. Naturalised throughout the British Isles, but rare in Scotland.

Snowdrop (Galanthus nivalis)

February 2012, local wood, Staffordshire. Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ38. © Pete Hillman 2012.

Bluebell

Hyacinthoides non-scripta

Bluebell (Hyacinthoides non-scripta)

I know these are a little early, but this is for one of my blogger friends here, Arkenaten, who hasn’t seen a photo of one in years.

Also called ‘Wild Hyacinth’, ‘Wood Bell’, ‘Fairy Flower’, and ‘Bell Bottom, Bluebells form dense carpets of violet-blue flowers in woodland. The nodding, bell-shaped flowers have 6 recurved lobes at the mouth, and have yellow stamens. Flowers can occasionally be pink or white. Each flowering stem bends downwards and has 4-16 sweetly scented flowers along one side.The flowers grow from a bulb along with narrow, glossy green leaves. The Bluebell is easily confused with the Spanish Bluebell (Hyacinthoides hispanica), and the hybrid between the two Hyacinthoides × massartiana. Plant height 20 to 50cm. Flower size 1.5 to 2cm long.

Bluebell (Hyacinthoides non-scripta)

It flowers April to June, and is found in deciduous woodland and scrub, hedgerows, and on sea cliffs. A native species, common and widespread throughout.

Bluebell (Hyacinthoides non-scripta)

Bluebells provide many butterflies, bees, flies and other insects with a rich source of nectar. The Wildlife and Countryside Act (1981) prohibits landowners from removing Bluebells from their land for sale, and prohibits anyone from digging them up from the countryside. It is estimated that between 25-50% of all the world’s Bluebells are found in Britain, where they reach their greatest density.

Photograph of Bluebell (Hyacinthoides non-scripta), taken in May 2014, local wood, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2014. Camera used Nikon D3200, with Sigma 105mm macro lens.