Tag Archives: Primula

The End of Autumn

We’re now in the final days of true autumn, or if you prefer it, halfway through the Celtic winter. But even now there are leaf buds swelling on the trees in anticipation of the coming spring. Of course, the buds always form at this time of year, and earlier, slowly swelling over the winter months. But some interesting plants usually associated with spring have already become apparent – check out these primroses:

Primroses are known to break through the soil as early as November, but they do remind us that although it's very cold the spring is not all that far away. But we'll need to see them blooming first.
Primroses are known to break through the soil as early as November, but they do remind us that although it’s very cold the spring is not all that far away. But we’ll need to see them blooming first.

Wild primroses (Primula vulgaris) are extremely common in Wicklow, especially at the bases of hedgrows and field walls. They are often the earliest wild flowers to bloom, even if it is snowing they can be blooming beneath the drifts.

A lot of the time in autumn and winter we don’t notice the wildlife that’s around, not because there is none but because the nights are far longer than the days and it’s cold and the low sun makes seeing things much more difficult.

This Angle Shades caterpillar was walking along an insect-screen. They get much bigger than this as the winter moves along.
This Angle Shades caterpillar was walking along an insect-screen. They get much bigger than this as the winter moves along.

There are actually many caterpillars to be found over-wintering, usually curled up in leaf-litter or feeding close to the ground, especially look out for this one, the caterpllar of the Angles Shades moth which doesn’t pupate until springtime. The moth emerges in late spring or summer.

There’s only one week from today until the Winter Solstice, which occurs at 11.03 in the evening GMT (which is our local time), making the next day, Monday, the first day of true winter, and the sunrise the beginning of the ancient New Year.