Spent a bit of time pruning some of the larger shrubs until I badly cut my finger so I had time to look a bit closer at the plants and animals.
The very mild winter means that a lot of last years plants are still flowering-one of the fuchsias is doing well and one of the sweet peas is still producing the odd flower. Having carefully overwintered some Pelargonium cuttings it is annoying to see the parent doing so well outside, and a lot of other tender plants have survived incredibly well. Even the ginger stems remain since we have not had any heavy frosts this winter.
Snowdrops are starting to go over, and the early crocuses are at their peak. Many of the other spring bulbs are shooting up, and some of my species tulips will soon flower. One of the pulmonarias has been flowering for several weeks now, as has a sweet rocket, and the first cowslips have just started (many have a touch of Polyanthus in them) and sweet violets will soon start.
Lots of 7 Spot Ladybirds in the garden, certainly more abundant than they have been in the last two winter/springs, and one or two bees are flying. I have yet to see any butterflies though.
I usually expect to see frog spawn in the pond any time from mid February. Despite being very mild, we have only seen two frogs and while they have been a bit frisky in recent days there is nothing to show for their efforts yet.
Would like to know where my House Sparrows have gone. Ever since a neighbour took out some big shrubs ( a safe roost) , numbers have been low, but they were regular visitors until mid November. None have been seen since then, though I do know a few birds are still present in the area. Last summer family parties were seen daily in pretty high numbers, so breeding was very successful locally, though it has been a long time since they nested in our roof space. Quite why the remaining birds are not visiting is a bit of a puzzle. Cats are a problem here, but this has not stopped Goldfinches (now my most abundant visitor) Wood Pigeons, Collared Doves and ground species like Blackbirds and Robins. Hopefully if the Sparrows have a good breeding season they will start to visit again.