'I'm growing some early nectar!'

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This week is a real transition time in the garden. The end of February as it bounces into March is full of exciting new green shoots, gentle birdsong, buds and, of course, emerging pollinators, out and about now on the look out for fresh flowers and nectar.

Second only to worms as a gardener’s best friend, it’s always a lovely sight on my plot to encounter a busy queen bee or a humming hoverfly doing the rounds, early to the garden party as always.

Many insects are just coming out of hibernation, enticed out by warm temperatures. They’re sleepy and hungry after a long winter, so it’s important they build up their reserves early on before nesting starts.

These weary travellers need our help, more so these days as their habitats are on the wane, and of course they’re indispensable members of the garden gang. No, a gardener never gardens alone – there’s always a friendly backup team of companions helping us out!

So, this week I’m doing my bit and topping up their food. This will consist of some instant flower impact from adding hellebores, primroses, cowslips and heathers to my already established mini carpets of winter aconites, anemones, muscari, crocuses and snowdrops. I’m complementing all this with a sense of permanence by planting a few early flowering shrubs and trees, too. So in the ground goes a compact scarlet-flowering quince called ‘Crimson and Gold’, and a dwarf weeping willow ‘Kilmarnock’.

That should keep them happy – for now and years to come.

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