Snowdrops, the first signs that winter is gradually turning into spring. Their narrow leaves pierce through the frozen soil and the carpet of leaves on the ground. Fortunately, they can withstand a layer of snow and the frost that will certainly strike again. They can withstand temperatures down to -30°C, thanks to homemade ‘antifreeze’ in their leaves. Starch from the bulb is converted into sugars that act as ‘antifreeze’ in the leaves. As they flower so early, snowdrops do not rely on pollinators to reproduce. Instead, they spread via bulb division. That is why they are often found so close together. However, they may still be visited by bumblebees and other insects on a particularly warm day.
The flowers also start appearing on the yellow dogwood. The male catkins of the hazel tree sprout and wait for the first warmer days to send their pollen into the world via the wind.
It is now planting time in the forest. The planting material that was previously bundled in the ground to protect it from drying out is taken to the planting sites. Parts of the forest where the Norway (European) spruces died in large groups due to an infestation of the Larger eight-toothed European spruce bark beetle, an annoying beetle for a number of tree species, have now been replanted with different species of deciduous trees. And between the Hallerbos and the Lembeekbos some more trees have been planted at the ‘Heldenbos’ where the first trees were planted in 2021.