A German environmentalist has encouraged leisure-time gardeners to plant early bloomers in the coming weeks to support insects in spring.
Matthias Staab from the Miltenberg branch of the Bavarian non-government organisation BUND Naturschutz in Bayern said now was the “ideal time” to bed out the buds of flowers such as the snowdrop and the spring snowflake.
Matthias explained: “The right time to plant early bloomers is autumn. It’s important to do it before soil frost sets in. Various insects such as bumblebees, mason bees and sand bees are active as early as February or March.
“For them, early bloomers are an essential source of nutrition in the new year.”
The expert on flora and fauna added: “Early bloomers actually need the ground frost to sprout.”
Crocus, scilla, muscari and winter aconite are other suitable seasonal flowering plants, according to the deputy head of the BUND’s Miltenberg department.
Matthias concluded: “We love the sight of flowers blossoming in spring. But to several insect species, they are vital.”
Bulbs of flowers that bloom in spring should be planted when the earth begins to cool down. Ideally, this should take place six to eight weeks before the soil begins to freeze in late autumn.
In the end, it strongly depends on the weather conditions of the region where gardens are located. Hobbyist gardeners even can plant bulbs of early bloomers in spring, according to Juergen Sheldon from the German Association of Gardeners.
Juergen explained: “If the soil is accessible for a few days, you can catch up on it. A few days of temperatures above zero is all that’s needed.”
The gardening expert emphasised that these bulbs would then need additional time to sprout.