Late winter and early spring were the times when you would expect the conservationist to be busy getting ready for the forthcoming coming season. As I always make reference to the current weather in my pieces that I write here I realise that I may have become predictable but that is one thing, particularly in recent times, that is not predictable and that is the weather.
February’s temperatures were again record breaking with 17°c being noted in Scotland during the month.
The warm weather was causing a few events on the reserve and raising a few questions in my head. As you know, the first plantings were carried out in June last year and many of those plants flowered late and many of them have retained their green basal leaves throughout the winter. In what I would have called a normal winter these basal leaves would have shrivelled up and possibly died. As I looked at the plants a couple of weeks ago many of the plants were starting to grow new leaves encouraged by the warm weather.
The seasons seem to be moulding together and this past winter has emphasised this point. I’m going to be keeping a careful eye on the plants of last year and how they
have coped and managed to furthering of their species.
It has also been interesting to note the evidence of gardening work of the past. After I cleared the rank vegetation off the area last year it has been completely and is now an open area so when I noticed plants emerging through the compacted soil I realised that the area had been ‘ gardened ‘ before and I was witnessing the re-emergence of plants that had been dormant for many years. I left the Crocus and most of the Daffodils in place as they looked pretty in the early spring and I also noted an Early Bumblebee feeding on one of the Crocus proving their importance.
The work preparing the rest of the area for planting continued and carried on to dig over the remaining unworked areas removing buttercups, dock and brambles as I went along. These species will forever be needed to be removed if they are to be prevented from taking over the area.
With the weather being so warm I decided to sow a few areas of already prepared soil and in three days seedlings were starting to show. The growing season is starting and the local birds are starting to breed and there have already been bees visiting the area. It’s all just beginning and I look forward to the visiting wildlife that will hopefully be using the reserve in the forthcoming months.