My poor daffodils haven't stood a chance, this year.

Since the heads opened (only a few days ago), we have had lashing rain, howling winds, freezing temperatures, and now a fresh dump of snow.

No wonder the daffodils have their heads bowed.

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Watched something last night on the telly, said the heads bow to drop the seeds.

Sounds reasonable. However, this is too early, none of the daffodils will have been pollinated. Usually, the heads would have been held out at right angles, to the stem, (see my photo from yesterday, as an example). The cold weather seems to have also inhibited the bumblebees. Most years I observe bumblebees going into the open trumpets. This year, I have hardly seen any bumblebees.

@fitheach We planted species rhododendrons from the Himalayas when we bought this house 15 years ago, and this is the first year they have all bloomed. Scarlet, white, rose, all in the snow among the heather. But the daffodils are definitely a bit beaten-down.

Aren't all rhododendrons from the Himalayas? 😃

I have a few rhododendrons in the garden. They are the common ones with purplish flowers. They weren't planted by me, most likely escapees from the local big hoose. They usually flower for 1-2 weeks in early June.

@fitheach The most familiar rhododendron in Scotland is probably R. ponticum, which may have been native in Britain before the last ice age but was reintroduced from Turkey and is now treated as an invasive. They escape often, and there are whole woodlands of it in Cumbria.

Ooh, I just noticed this in the WP article:

"A study in the journal Functional Ecology also showed that invasive rhododendron nectar was toxic to European honeybees..."

@fitheach Given the biogeography, that seems odd.
I might dig around a bit to see what that claim is really about. "Invasive" is a label that is almost as ugly in ecology as it is in politics; there certainly are invasive spp. (lion fish! pythons in the Everglades!) but we don't usually treat domestic cats (for example) as a highly destructive invasive species.

@fitheach Scanned the article. The study examined toxicity of an artificial nectar made from R. ponticum fed to captive bees; it didn't examine whether colonies of Apis mellifera adapted their behaviour. There's a *long* discussion to be had around why the term "invasive species" is so appealing to certain groups (National Trust). Every ecosystem in the British Isles is (1) anthropogenic and (2) changing quickly as a result of the environmental crisis. Elms are dying, bugs are disappearing, temperature shifts are pushing plants N or uphill, pollution and species loss are affecting everything. Worrying about R ponticum while voting Tory (deregulation of pesticides) is, umm, well.....

The problem with "roddies" is the way they dominate parts of the environment. I can see the results of this all around me. They take over whole hillsides, and nothing can compete with them. They shade the ground below them, so that no small plants can grow. The end result is a largely lifeless monoculture.

Roddies are not even useful as firewood.

@fitheach Yep. If they stay here, which they probably will, then over several thousand years (maybe just decades, given the bizarre speed of change just now) they may become part of a richer ecosystem. In some parts of the Himalayas rhododendrons and oaks live together well, for example. But right now it feels like something changing awkwardly, which it is. Here along the lower reaches of the Don we have whole stands of dead elm. They will never come back.

@fitheach The lambs which have just been born must be regretting the fact.

My neighbour to my house site's lambs aren't due for another fortnight but I saw a few new ones around Dunbeath and Latheron the other day and lots of ewes which were obviously about to lamb.

Winds gusting to 27 m/s yesterday evening, overnight low of -3 °C and a thin coat of snow lying this morning.

Where's that global warming, when you need it?

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