Sunday, 4 January 2015

The bleak midwinter


First Bergenia flower
That's it. The new year has finally  crept in. The year has turned upon its axis and is now heading out of the darkness and into the light. It may only be by a matter of seconds every day, but we are slowly, slowly clawing our way back to the sun on our backs and the buzzing of bees. Heading towards new mown lawns and lazily swinging hammocks.

Helleborus Foetidus

Pansy 'Mystique Blue Halo'
Although it is the calendar which dictates the start of the New Year, to me it is the winter solstice which marks that turning point, and even though there will no doubt be some fierce some winter weather to come, we are headed firmly to Spring.

Cyclamen
Once that fact is acknowledged, then a different mindset takes over, and instead of seeing the skeletons of grasses and the slimy remains of perennials, I begin to see the buds, the green shoots of bulbs and the glimmerings of growth. All that energy just coiled and waiting to burst out with the lengthening days.

Daffodils


Frosted geraniums leaves

Christmas, with all the preparations and the preoccupations, moves us forward imperceptibly towards the shortest day. As we order the turkey and wrap the presents the quiet ticking of time is unnoticed, taking us through the dark, drear days of late November into cold grey December.

Frost on Box leaves

Buds of Magnolia Stellata

And once the tree is shredded and the diets begun, then the first snowdrops can't be too far away. The first flowers of a brand new season. So it begins again , with the sowing and the growing and the hoeing, then the weeding and the planting and the feeding, to the flowering and the picking and the storing. Round we go again.

Viburnum Tinus 'Eve Price'


And I can't wait.











30 comments:

  1. Looking out into the garden this morning it seemed a long way off until the buzzing of the bees but then when I think about it they could well be out and about in the next few weeks depending on the temperature. Yes the year is definitely turning again Jane and it's such a promising time. Still I'm glad of a few weeks longer to dream and make plans :)

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    1. ...and to recover from the excesses of Christmas, Anna, in my case!
      It is such a time of hope, as you say. I have the lovely job of finalising which seeds to grow , always one of my favourites !
      Happy New Year to you!

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  2. It dawned on me at 4.30 this afternoon that it was still light - it's amazing just how much difference is apparent in a few short weeks - bring on spring!
    Those daffs are a fair bit on aren't they Jane, it won't be long until they are blooming.

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  3. Hi Angie and Happy New Year. The daft do seem well on, but then it has been mild here, apart from the last few days when the frost has not melted all day. I saw that Helen, at 'The Patient Gardener' already has a snowdrop out, a variety called 'Ding dong' presumably as it flowers soon after xmas. I would love to get my hands on a clump, as snowdrops seem to make spring seem absolutely imminent!

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  4. Dear Jane, I feel the same, the winter solstice marks the real start of the new year for me. Going by the calender always seems to be a little bit artificial. In any case time is moving forward and spring will be here sooner or later. In my case sooner since some unusual warm temperatures are forecasted for next week. I have to get busy and prune the roses, otherwise they will be leaving out before they got their new hair cut. Wishing you a wonderful week! Warm regards,
    Christina

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    1. Mild weather sounds most welcome! Good luck with rose pruning, I must get started too, as they come into growth so early !
      happy New Year to you Christina

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  5. Lovely post Jane, we echo your sentiments and with Christmas out of the way we all have spring to look forward to.

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    1. Hi both. Spring can't be too far away now we have turned the corner ...

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  6. Lovely pictures of frosty leaves; but yes, even here where it is much warmer, it is so nice to turn the corner of the winter solstice! I'm admiring how far along your daffodils are; mine haven't showed so much as a nose yet...!

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    1. Hi Amy and Happy New Year to you. I thought your daft would be way ahead of mine.

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    1. Hi Endah and Happy New Year to you. The pansies are plug plants which were given to me by Thompson & Morgan. They have the most beautiful faces and the blue is much clearer than the camera would suggest. There is only that one, slightly tattered, bloom at the moment, so I am hoping for more !

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  8. My new year starts when the seed order goes in which it did today!

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    1. Hi Sue, Happy New Year to you. It's always an exciting time deciding which seeds to grow, I love it! Anything new this year?

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  9. It is amazing just what a difference New Year makes to the mood. I have snowdrops almost opening and a camellia in full bloom! It may progress in fits and starts but we are definitely on the road to Spring now.

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    1. Hi Jessica, Happy New Year to you.
      How fantastic to have a camellia out already, with snowdrops soon to follow ! Our snowdrops always take me by surpise as they always just seem to appear overnight, even though I am watching out for signs of their leaves!

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  10. Gorgeous! The frost on the plants is so pretty. One of these days, I need to get out early and capture some frost photos. Too cold currently, but maybe with slightly milder weather. Happy New Year!

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  11. Happy New Year to you too!
    I had been meaning to get out and take frost photos for days but the problem was that it had melted by the time I got myself organised ! Back at work now, so I am in the 'organised' groove again !

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  12. It is so exciting to see all the young shoots and plump buds at this time of the year. Happy New Year Jane.

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    1. Hi Chloris and Happy New Year to you.
      I can feel my obsession returning a little more strongly every day!

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  13. The days are certainly getting longer! What's that bit about diets?... asks the woman still working her way through the brandy sauce. Happy new year!

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    1. Hi Sarah and Happy New Year ! I can't see any problem with hoovering up the brandy sauce, especially as I have single handedly devoured a giant tub of salty, cheesy things !

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  14. Our mindset does change with the new year and each winter bloom and emerging shoot brings such joy. We're lucky to live in climates where the garden isn't frozen and covered with snow for most of the winter! (I keep reminding myself of that during our dark and rainy days.) Happy new garden season, welcome back light!

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    1. Happy New Year ... and let's welcome back the light! I go to work in the dark and come home in the dark, and get up in what feels like the middle of the night!! Roll on long summer evenings ...

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  15. I feel exactly the same as you do about the lengthening days. I keep noticing how it gets dark just a little bit later each day. Roll on spring.

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  16. Hi Jo, it is imperceptible at first, but we know it is happening ...

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  17. Happy New Year Jane! Spring is a long ways away for we Canadians. It is -18 here today. The cold bites your face and freezes your toes and fingers. But as you say, the days are getting longer now, and that is something to celebrate.

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  18. Hi Jennifer ... brrrrr! That is unbelievably cold ! I can't even imagine how that must feel. Time to enjoy sitting next to a huge fire, planning which seeds to sow once the spring comes .

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  19. I can't wait, either. I've already started some seeds under lights and have 10 containers full of my winter sowing. I even have a brave tulip and some snowdrops that have popped their tiny green heads up. :o)

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  20. Hi Tammy, and Happy New Year to you! You must have one very confused tulip - what on earth possessed it to pop out its head !

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I really welcome comments and have learned much from them, over the years of leaning over the virtual garden gate ...