Front Quad of Lincoln College, the walls covered in bright green ivy


Winter in Bloom

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Aimee Irving-Bell

  • Head Gardener
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It is always wonderful to see plants emerging to indicate that Spring is on its way, but this year it seems to have happened very early. Being the emblem of Wales, we always hope we can get our daffodils flowering by St David’s day, this year falling on the 1 March. Jesus College, also known as the Welsh College, will often ‘force’ bulbs by moving them to a warmer spot under glass to encourage them out earlier ready for the days celebrations, but on 8 January we spotted one that had emerged in Main Quad, without the aid of greenhouses.

First daffodils of the season along with snowdrops, winter aconite is usually the first bulb to emerge, go spot them in the Grove!

Our recent mild winters have changed how plants normally react to seasons, often resulting in roses blooming all winter long. While it is lovely to see, it creates its own problems, an example being tulips, which if they do not experience a decent period of dormancy caused by low enough temperatures, will not have the full strength to produce healthy blooms in the Spring and the resulting flowers will be rather stunted and susceptible to disease. There are even more far reaching problems to our environment when emergence of new plant growth and flowering is mistimed with the breeding cycles of wildlife, where there is often a symbiotic relationship with pollen distribution and feeding, meaning that any changes to this timescale can end up having much wider reaching consequences to the ecosystem.

This Viburnum is giving bees still foraging some much needed winter nectar. The wildlife in our gardens taste for flowers will always be put before ours!

Photos by Simon Baker