Snowdrops and snowflakes, blossom and bees

For days now the cherry plum trees that line the end of the garden have been spangled with white blossom. We’ve missed the clear, crisp days of winter when the sky is blue and the air cold.  Instead this profusion of tiny flowers must be our frost and our snow.

Beneath the branches, huddled together, clumps of snowdrops nod. Slowly opening from tiny droplets to full-bodied blooms, petals like goats’ ears, they pepper the garden with hope.

Their taller cousins, the snowflakes, enjoying the damp, are already beginning to unfurl from their casings – an appearance usually reserved for April or May.


All three – blossom, snowdrops, and snowflakes – are good sources of early nectar for emerging bees; but the it’s the blossom that seems most attractive.  Spotting my first bumblebee (usually heard before seen) is a joy I look forward to each year, and last week an unmistakable buzz in the branches above me signalled a foraging queen.  She (a Bombus terrestris, buff-tailed bumblebee) was out a good month earlier than my first sighting last year, a Bombus hypnorum (tree bumblebee) on 12 March.

I watched for a moment as she hummed in contentment, buzzing from flower to flower. She’ll continue to feed on nectar to replenish her energy supplies after many months in hibernation.  As the temperature begins to rise she will start her search for a suitable nest site, and there she will raise a new colony. I can’t wait for the garden to be buzzing with bees again.




3 thoughts on “Snowdrops and snowflakes, blossom and bees

  1. Hello Helen. I can’t wait for the garden to buzz and hum with bees too. My honeybees have been flying more than usual in this mild winter, but I am concerned about the early flowering and early blossom and whether the bees will be around to pollinate it this year.

    1. Hello Wendy – lovely to hear from you, and I’ve just been catching up with your blog. I’ve been wondering about the effects of early flowering too – and whether everything will come out in succession but just earlier than normal, or whether there will be a strange gap in around March / April when all the Spring flowers will already have been and gone.

  2. Looks like we’re not the only ones having an early spring. No flowers yet here that I’ve seen, just pussy willows budding and other trees budding. But it’s been a very mild winter. Although at the minute I’m looking out my window to snow coming down and sticking . . . what a strange winter.
    Love your beautiful flowers. I’m amazed you can tell distinct types of bumblebees!

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