Broad beans
Broad beans
 

A few days of sunshine brought the allotment site to life once again. The birds were singing and there was a feeling that plants and creatures alike could rejoice in the clear skies for a time before rain returns, bringing more flooding to the already sodden ground.

Beneath the bare branches of a rose bush a small number of snowdrops stood with their immaculate white petals wide open, having the previous week been firmly shut against the elements.  A much larger clump beside the entrance gate is thriving despite having their roots immersed in standing water.

Also given the name Fair Maid of February, this month is the snowdrops’ time of radiance and I relish their delicate beauty until other flowers begin to emerge in the spring.

Snowdrops
Snowdrops
 

In one of the raised beds a few rows of broad beans planted in the autumn are gradually gaining height and show promise of a good crop in the spring. The garlic has remarkably thicker stems than crops I have grown in the past and I am keen to see whether the bulbs will be a good size to match.

As I cleared away some Brussels sprout plants I discovered what had been eating the leaves of my spring cabbages, still only a few centimetres tall. 

Silver Y moth caterpillar
Silver Y moth caterpillar
 

Three bright, lime-green caterpillars, their colouring making them all the more conspicuous at this time of year, were lying on the ground. They are most likely the larvae of the Silver Y moth which in the past did not normally survive our cold British winters, flying over from Southern Europe in the spring, but they now overwinter here in the warmer southern parts of the country.