Today the Ecoworks Community Garden on the Hungerhill Allotments in St. Ann’s was displaying some handsome winter-flowering shrubs. One was Cornus mas, the Cornelian Cherry :
Also decked in bright yellow flowers was a Mahonia japonica :
Neither of these two shrubs is native – Cornelian Cherry grows wild in France, and is naturalised in places in the UK, whilst Mahonia japonica is a garden plant native to Asia. Although native species are generally most valuable for wildlife, winter-flowering shrubs such as these have a valuable role to play as early nectar sources for insects which have become active in mild weather in January – and with the climate increasingly unpredictable, this is an important function. They look great too!
The old custom of wassailing fruit trees, in order to encourage a fruitful harvest the following autumn, can be experienced this Sunday (20th) at St.Anns Community Orchard. There’s an activity day from 11am-4pm, to which all are welcome, and it’s free. There will be a fire to fend off the cold!
This “Bug Hotel” at Dig-In Community Garden in Stapleford is hopefully providing overwintering refuge for a variety of invertebrates – especially important in these harsh weather conditions.
Bug hotels are an easy way to re-use scrap materials to provide a valuable habitat feature…..every garden should have one!
A walk in the woods at Bestwood Country Park felt more like March than the beginning of January, with unseasonably mild temperatures, birdsong, and a flush of deadwood fungi – unusually abundant for the time of year…..