Monday, February 9, 2015

Helleborus niger and bees: a delightful prelude to things to come

Yesterday afternoon, after things finally warmed up a bit, I went out to check on what was happening in the cold frames. The Algerian iris is blooming, and the primroses purchased a while back are in fine form and very colorful. But what really caught my eye were the two Helleborus niger. These are in full bloom, and the flowers are particularly handsome now because the cold frame provides such good protection. In our climate they certainly don't need cold frame protection, but the cold frames mimic a good snow cover, and that's what these plants are adapted to. Blooms which mature in the open garden generally show signs of the battle against the elements; those which mature in the cold frame are lush in comparison.

As I was admiring the hellebores, I remembered something which needed attention inside the house and left to take care of that. When I returned a few minutes later, I had a nice surprise: bees had already found the hellebore flowers. It's so good to see bees again: for years we seemed to have none. I made a five minute video of the bees visiting the hellebore flowers. A brief snippet of this can be seen below. Be sure the volume is up: you will then be able to hear the buzzing of the bees.

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