It’s beginning to dawn on me that my timing may be a little out, it being January, and here I am committed to weekly posts about my garden, which at the moment is grey and gloomy and perishingly cold, and reluctant to offer up too many good stories.
So it’s a challenge.
But January feels like a good time for a challenge. And I’m telling myself that if I can come up with something to write about for a post at this miserable time of year, and if I can come up with subject matter to shoot for the online plant and flower photography course I’m doing at the moment with the great Clive Nichols at mygardenschool, then it’s going to seem like a piece of cake when things warm up.
At least that’s what I’m telling myself!
And when I’m really struggling it helps to remind myself of the damp and dismal winter we had last year, when it didn’t get cold, it just got murky. This year we have had more than our fair share of frosty mornings when the the sun shines and the world is ice encrusted and glistening. The silhouettes of the trees stand like sculptures against the winter skies, the sunsets take my breath away. And why is it that on these glorious days I don’t have time to get outside with my camera and only have spare time on days like today when it’s perishing and grey and…
Oh stop moaning woman and get on with the job in hand.
Because the truth is there’s still so much to enjoy in the garden. I just have to brave the elements, whatever the elements happen to be. And even though it’s freezing degrees fahrenheit outside and the ground is rock hard, the plants know that spring is around the corner and they are getting themselves in shape for it.
First the Galanthus nivalis, the snowdrops. Never ones to be put off by the cold they are getting ready to flower any day now.
Then there’s the Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Arnold Promise’ I planted in the autumn. It’s clustering beautifully and getting ready to put on a show at any moment.
One of my all time favourite plants, the Euphorbia characias subsp. wulfenii, which has delivered its structural elegance to the winter garden, is limbering up and preparing to put on it’s lime green loveliness for the benefit of contrast, so that when the tulips and the daffodils and the scillas and the muscari come into flower they have something to work with. I have several strategically placed around the garden. Last year’s mild winter saw it flowering from November. This year we have to wait. But it’s so worth it.
The hellebores are getting ready by the driveway. The Sarcococca confusa is wafting occasional bursts of scent, but really wants it to warm up a couple of degrees in order for it to release the full strength of its sweetness. The Daphne odora ‘Aureomarginata’ is laden with buds whose scent is one of the most exquisite of any I know, so that people who rarely notice such things comment as they walk past it to the kitchen door.
In the front garden buds are showing on the Amalanchier and the guelder rose and the Prunus. Once you start paying attention it’s amazing how much is happening out there.
And inside I’m playing around with reflectors and backgrounds and apertures. And I’m breaking my resolution not to buy flowers because at the moment I have no option.
I can’t wait until the cutting garden starts delivering because this year I’m hoping that I will have much more of a clue about how to take photos of what comes out of it.
So… I’ve written myself into a good mood. This week’s post has delivered a whole lot more than I imagined it would. And there’s next week to look forward to.