Go wild in February
Discover the best plants to make your garden a haven for wildlife this month, with Kate Bradbury
February is an interesting month in the garden. Many species are still hibernating or only just emerging from hibernation, while others, such as frogs, might be having raucous parties in your pond. Look out for the first bees of the year: queen buff-tailed bumblebees, which fly low in zig zags over the ground, and hairy footed flower bees, which feast on pulmonaria and primroses – the ginger males zip around like hoverflies, while the black females gather pollen on the backs of their large, orange hind legs. The first plants are flowering now, too, while the last of the berries ensure birds get into good condition for breeding.
More February wildlife gardening ideas:
February wildlife inspiration
Plants featured in this video
Hellebores are a fantastic early spring flower, with some species (known as the Christmas rose) flowering as early as January. These hardy flowers come in a range of colours, including dark red and almost back, and are loved by bumblebees and other bees, providing a much needed burst of pollen and nectar.
The first of the crocuses start to bloom in February. These pretty flowers have bright orange pollen, which queen bumblebees seem to love. Crocuses are important for bumblebees in other ways: bumblebee nests are annual and each one is started from scratch in spring by a queen that mated the previous summer and successfully hibernated over winter. It can take time for queens to find the perfect nest site in spring, until then she might sleep in a crocus flower, which closes at night and opens with a fresh batch of nectar – the perfect B&B…
If you have a Kilmarnock willow or goat willow, you will have noticed large catkins developing in recent weeks. Despite willows being pollinated by wind, these catkins also produce nectar, attracting a range of pollinating insects. Stand near a goat willow in early spring and it will hum with the sound of a hundred bumblebees. You’ll also see butterflies and hoverflies visiting the blooms. And, if you’re lucky, you may spot blue tits and goldfinches visiting the catkins, which could be for nectar or to gather the fluff to line their nests.
Don't miss our May issue. Subscribe now and get your first 6 issues for just £14.99
Whatever the size of your outdoor space, our latest guide will ensure success all year round. Comes with 4 seed packs. Only £9.99!