The Natural Gardener by Val Bourne is one of my favorite gardening books. She says you should leave some of your dry fennel stalks standing over the winter because they will house insect larva through the winter. I looked at the pith in one of the stalks and saw that it had been burrowed into by two tiny insects, perhaps native been. In the meantime, the new fennel fronds are starting to grow.
After the crazy storm last night, the afternoon turned unseasonable warm and there were a couple of healthy looking bees flying in and out of the hive. If they're strong enough they could find some hazel catkins or winter-blossoming jasmine. I cleared some of the dead bodies from the entrance to the hive. There were a couple of bees barely clinging to life on the cinder blocks. Temperatures fall towards evening and they will no longer be able to move back into the warmth of the hive. This will be their last day.
The rains have washed the mud from the sunflower roots and left their delicate tracery for us to admire. I feel like a stranger in my own garden because it's been so long since I've been back there to take a look. It feels bare and exposed. I am embarrassed that the back corner is so overgrown with ivy and the evil invasive "money plant" or Lamium. The stones and shells I've placed here and there are like buried treasure that has been revealed by the rain. Soon the forsythia will bloom and the roses will need to be pruned and then spring will be well on its way.