Although it is long past the first day of spring, this is the first day that the weather has been spring-like and I have been at home (it was snowing in Regina on Wednesday).
So I spent the day wandering around the garden but not doing much. We did have a nice visitor, a pileated woodpecker, but it didn’t stay long enough to get it‘s picture taken. However, here are some “first-of-the-year” flowers and some animals from my garden.
Starting with flowers
This hepatica is a wild flower and the first woodland flower to open, soon after the coltsfoot that I showed a few weeks ago. The coltsfoot grows in full sun but the hepatica is in our maple woods.
Here is another picture from closer up:
I think those fine hairs must provide some insulation and catch the sun.
The next “first” is a borderline – it grows wild but I think it comes from hybrid garden plants reverting to type. Does anybody know for sure?
Then there’s the first daffodil – there are lots getting ready, by the time I get home next weekend, I expect there’ll be a host of them, as per Wordsworth.
The striped squill are out too:
Less obvious are the hazel flowers. The hazel has separate sexes on the same plant. The male is large enough to notice: the catkin.
The pollen is scattered by the wind and is caught by these tiny threads of the female. If a pollen grain is lucky enough to land, it will grow a tube down the inside of the thread and then fertilise the ovum and grow into a big seed, the hazel nut.
The flower is not easy to spot, being a few red threads sticking out of the end of an otherwise normal bud that will turn into a new stem and leaves.
Laurie didn’t like this picture because it looks like a snake. By coincidence, the person who first pointed out these tiny flowers to me was my grammar school biology teacher whose name was Mrs. Hazelwood.
Now to animals.
This sparrow looks annoyed about something, as if he’s giving somebody an earful:
I found lots of solitary bees over warm sand (and even more over the wood-ash pile from the wood-stove – no sure why). I also don’t know why they are licking the sand or ash; presumably to get some minerals from them.
”Lots” and “solitary” don’t usually go together but at some time they have to get together to make baby bees. But they don’t live in hives with other bees.