The Spring Peak

Now is the time of peak spring flowers in our garden. I’m not going to write anything, this is just a gallery of shots taken in the last couple of weeks. As usual, you can click on a thumbnail to see a bigger version.

May Day

It’s May, but we’re having April showers today! There has even been some hail! The warm and sunny weather finally broke last week and we heaved a sigh of relief when we realised we didn’t have to water the garden for a while. Now, several days of rain have limited our outside work, but the garden doesn’t care – it’s burgeoning with new growth and more and more flowers are appearing.

Today I’d like to start in the pond – well beside it, anyway. The frogs spawned in late February and the spawn lasted for some time. Of course, that attracted the newts and we spent several evenings watching them on the hunt around the edges of the spawn mass. The tadpoles continue to eat the spawn “jelly” for some time, but they crowd together for safety in the middle of it. Slowly the tadpoles disappeared. I doubt if they’ve all been eaten, but with all the mighty hunters in the pond they keep a very low profile once they are swimming free. We may see one or two as the summer progresses, or we may see a tiny frog as it leaves the pond later in the season, but if we do it’s just luck.

Meanwhile the newts have been getting frisky. It’s now the mating season. To attract the females, the males use their tails to flick pheromones through the water towards them. You can see them cruising through the water, with several males following each female in the hope of being the one to pass on their sperm packages. You can see a full description of the process here along with some much better pictures than I have managed to take.

I’m using the lockdown to catch up on various jobs and projects. One of them is to learn to use my camera. I have had it in auto mode for too long! I am learning to do a few more things with it, which is why I was able to get better pictures of the pond life. However, I realise I have a long way to go before I get really adept at changing settings, focusing and shooting quickly!

As the earth warms up, lots of interesting plants are showing up in the garden. I love the young ferns, the bluebells, the red maples and the apple blossom. Here’s a selection of photos taken over the last couple of weeks. Click on a photo to see it more clearly.