Plant of the week

Here we are in the depths of winter and recent patterns in the weather are becoming familiar. Apart form a brief spell of cold back in November we have mostly been experiencing very mild temperatures for the time of year.

I was passing the top of the meadow today and noticed that our snowflakes or Leucojum  aestivum ‘Gravetye Giant’ are starting to come out. This on its own is an odd occurrence but combined with the Liquidambar that lives to the left of the lake still holding on to its foliage, it is a rather unusual sight.

We always joke that the plants are confused when trying to flower out of season but as they work out their life cycle through day length and temperature, a more accurate description would be that they are opportunistic. Temperature determines invertebrate activity so it is very much possible for pollination of the snowdrops, providing a rare winter feast for any bees that have had the same idea; and as for the Liquidambar, if the temperature is sufficient then it is still possible to photosynthesise, giving the tree more energy before its dormancy.


Leucojum aestivum ‘Gravetye Giant’ in the foreground with our Liquidambar styraciflua still in leaf behind.


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