Even thought we have had very few days of ice and snow, many of the plants have still prepared them selves for winter.
To survive the harsh conditions of winter, many of the plants on the nature reserve have died back to the ground or shed all their leaves and become dormant (resting). People are often surprised to discover that plants have senses too. As winter approaches plants can detect the changes in their environment as the days grow shorter and colder. In response, plants produce chemicals that cause them to become dormant.
Even the vegetation along the banks of the Leighside pond and water ditches has died back over the winter and the pond area is now very exposed. Some of the plants around the pond are carefully managed by the nature reserve warden to make sure the pond does not become overgrown.
As winter becomes spring the amount of daylight hours slowly increases and the air becomes warmer. This triggers plants to produce chemicals that will cause the plant to start growing again.
But we have had a very mild winter this year. Have a look around your school grounds or your garden and you will probably spot at least one plant that is flowering earlier than normal.