As the colder and darker months have arrived and the clocks have gone back, now is the time that much of the natural world dies back, goes inwards and the animals as well as the plants use the winter months to conserve energy, keep warm and hunker down to see out the worst of winter in warmth and safety. After the busy berry gathering and nut collecting of the autumn months, many of the animals such as squirrels and birds will now have a collection to see them through the winter, and much of the natural world winds down, to weather the storms.
However, this is not the same for all of nature – the winter for some plants and animals is an opportunity, and some are well designed to cope with the wintery weather. As many gardeners know, there are many types of plants that grow and bloom in winter – to have a look at some, visit somewhere like this online garden centre Kent based Simply Go Gardening.
If you go out to the woods at this time of the year although it is a lot quieter, not all life has stopped, here are some of the things that you will see in bloom and thriving…
Holly – The King of the woods, holly has long been associated with the dark winter months – it’s spiky and shiny evergreen leaves and bright red berries, not only provide us with lots of festive cheer, but also are a valuable food source to birds when there is little else around at this time of the year. Holly wood itself is known for its protective properties and was often carried as a staff for those wishing to keep negativity away.
Ivy – Another plant that features in the classic Christmas Carol, Ivy is a strong and often misunderstood plant. Whilst many people believe that it destroys trees, ivy actually strives to work with the tree that it climbs, and during the winter is still green and beautiful. Ivy has long been a symbol of fidelity and unity and was worn at wedding ceremonies in ancient Greece.
Small Birds – Although the winter trees are bare this makes it an excellent time to spot the smaller birds that are often on the tree trunks where they feast on the small bugs and insects who are hiding in the trees. Look out for the nuthatch, tree creeper and woodpeckers like the green and lesser spotted woodpecker on the tree trunks.
Owls – The shorter hours of daylight means that you will have a good chance of also spotting the notorious nocturnal predators – owls. Woodlands are a favourite home with tawny owls who you might hear first with their recognisable twit twoo call and look out over farmland at dusk for the ghostly white of the barn owl crossing the fields.