Tag Archives: gardening

Late 2012 winter stirrings

Just what has been happening in the world of phenology………………. could nature be stirring already?

It may only be the 1st January but just as last year, there was some unseasonal activity. Firstly, in the form of flowering Woodland Snowdrops and secondly, flowering Winter Aconite, blooming around the same dates as in 2012, see here and also here

Again, this time around, these sightings will closely correlate to the  local weather conditions. One being, a general lack of Air Frosts over recent days and perhaps, the incessant rainfall, as shown below.

December 2012 Air temperature highs and lows

December 2012 Air temperature highs and lows

December 2012 rainfall

December 2012 rainfall

Intriguingly, looking at their expected emergence dates, both events have now moved forward to the 11th January consequently. Woodland Snowdrop captured below, emerged on the 28th December.

Woodland Snowdrop (Galanthus_nivalis) in bloom

Woodland Snowdrop (Galanthus_nivalis) in bloom

With Winter Aconite emerging on the 30th December 2012.

Winter Aconite (Eranthis_hyemalis) in bloom

Winter Aconite (Eranthis_hyemalis) in bloom

As we head into 2013, I wonder what delights the year will hold.

*should you wish to join, I now have a dedicated Facebook page for, accessible via the following link – facebook.com/naturestimeline




naturestimeline – courtesy of Tony William Powell
on Google+

Two more indicators of seasonal change

Dear readers, I have two further events as mentioned in yesterday’s post. They are as follows.

 

I first witnessed a truly wild Primrose (Primula vulgaris) in flower on 7th January but as on other occasions, I have seen other varieties elsewhere, even in November and December this year just gone. However, if taking my 7th January date as gospel, my list of dates range from the certain Novembers or Decembers through to 2nd March. The adjusted mean date for all 16 records being 23rd January.

Primrose (Primula Vulgaris) in flower

Primrose with its vernacular name of “spinkie” or more appropriately “prima rosa” meaning first flower/first rose is always a welcome sight early in the season. In the past there were a very common sight and were picked profusely. However, numbers in the wild have dwindled a little but remain in good numbers in the right habitats. Having a scattered distribution, Primroses are seen in ancient woodlands or adorning hedge banks, and are often planted in gardens as they can be widely purchased. They also have a habit of colonising motorway embankments. They are able to self-pollinate, however bees and certain Lepidoptera will also help in this process.

In addition, Lesser Celandine (Ranunculus ficaria) was flowering locally for the first time on 7th January. The current range of dates extends from 21st December through to 13th March, this being based on 16 records. The adjusted mean date works out at 7th February, a full two weeks earlier than in Gilbert White’s day.

Lesser Celandine (Ranuncula ficaria) in flower

Gilbert White, the 18th Century naturalist quoted these delightful little yellow star-like flowers as blooming on average around 21st February. Like many other phenological indicators however, the current climate as per my figures above denotes otherwise. Lesser Celandines have possessed various names over the years. Known names have included “spring messengers” or “pilewort” and a Greek derivation of “chelidonia” meaning a “swallow” you can see the fondness associating with them. The swallow connection being especially bizarre as this migrant species arrives well after the Lesser Celandine has started flowering. Moreover, folk now believe this was misquoted as it were more likely associated with the unrelated Greater Celandine. Being another member of the Ranunculaceae – buttercup family, they are sometimes looked upon as weeds, which, can soon carpet many a meadow and field. Some farmers believe the plants to be responsible for poisoning cattle and sheep.

Kind Regards

Tony Powell

The Daffodils are out already!

I have recorded the first emergence of Daffodil on 16 occasions and this year’s flowering is one of the earlier dates, having witnessed a variety in flower on 2nd January 2012. My range of dates covers the 1st December through to the 2nd March with the mean being 29th January.

Welsh Daffodils, courtesy of wikipedia
Wild Daffodil (Narcissus pseudonarcissus) courtesy of Natural History Museum - http://www.nhm.ac.uk/index.html

Wild Daffodil (Narcissus pseudonarcissus) courtesy of Natural History Museum

 

Daffodil – Narcissus (plant)

Daffodils come in a variety of shapes and sizes and colours. The parts of the flower known as the perianth and corona can differ in colouration or equally contain the same pigments. They bloom in a variety of yellows, whites, oranges, pinks, reds or even greens.

Known by various vernacular names such as Daffys, Lent Lily’s, Easter lily’s, the true Wild Daffodil (Narcissus pseudonarcissus) often flowers between the months of March and April. Because of this, they are often associated with Mothering Sunday and Palm Sunday. I personally, have records of the Wild Daffodil in bloom on an average date of 9th March and there are particular woods in the United Kingdom where only the wild variety grow. However, these places are getting rarer, due to the destruction of their ancient woodland sites. Dependent on where you are located within the UK, some  varieties of Narcissi bloom as early as late November.

Farmers and landowners once harvested wild Narcissuses to provide them with a welcome additional income. As with others in the plant kingdom, there have been occasions of poisoning where children had mistakenly eaten Daffodil bulbs, believing them to be onions.  

Kind Regards

Tony Powell