It’s winter and nature seems to be asleep. However there are still signs of life in the garden. The weather so far has been very mild and very wet. This situation is good for fungi. In my garden, there are lots of different fungi like this beautiful white one growing on an old piece of cherry wood. Fungi, together with bacteria, are responsible for a great deal of the recycling on the planet: returning dead material to the soil in a form in which it can be reused.
Above: fungi growing on a piece of oak tree.
Above: more fungi growing on piece of cherry tree.
Fruit trees are very important for insects especially for honeybees but also favoured by bumblebees and solitary bees. They provide lots of pollen and nectar. Most favoured is the apple tree followed by cherry. Nectar of pear trees is said to be less sugary compared to apple.
The strong wind makes it a bit difficult to take pictures but here is a one of the flower buds of Wild cherry, Prunus avium. A superb tree with gorgeous flowers, berries that attracts many birds and leaves that turn red in autumn. Its leaves decompose quickly, improving the quality of the soil.
I am growing lots of shrubs such as roses that provide food for birds. Rose hips are rich in vitamin c and greenfinches love them. This is the Rosa rubiginosa, Sweet briar. Roses (single petal ones) provide lots of pollen so many insects are drawn to this banquet, in particular bumblebees
The mild weather means some amphibians like this lovely male alpine newts are still active. This photo was taken on 29 december and the newt was in the water. Alpine newts are originally restricted to the south of the Netherlands and relatively common where i live. Stunningly beautiful they are. To keep newts happy, please make sure your pond is healthy and avoid fish as they eat all the young newts. However, as newts spend more time outside the water than inside, you also need to provide places where they can hide and hunt. A hedgerow, log pile, meadow or piece of garden with tall grass will suit them well.