The jobs I normally do in the middle of winter like attacking brambles and ivy in the woodland, and clearing the bramble swamped stream, haven't been done, and it'll be interesting to see how the apples and pears fare this year, as they are not getting pruned. To be honest it's a huge sigh of relief as it's quite an onerous task for two, taking up the best part of a week of afternoons. 10 years of pruning them with all the lugging the ladder, step ladder and tools over to the orchard and back, no wonder that in recent years we've been getting totally fed up with the job!
These photos aren't from this morning - oh no, it was serious 'attack the garden and don't be distracted by taking a camera with me' time. I shall probably pay for it tomorrow aching like crazy. I could have done more but I'm trying to be sensible!
|I just love this Dogwood at this time of year. |
It's Cornus sanguinea 'Winter Flame' but I've noticed that it is
naughtily sending out stolons far away and sprouting
up to 2 metres away from the main plant!
|Old apple tree full of mistletoe and you can just about see |
some of the new shoots from the Dogwood that are
coming up in front of my Spirea.
|A few fluffy seed heads left on one of the Smokebushes.|
|Some of the dead perennial growth looks lovely at first in winter, |
such as the fluffy seed heads of Golden Rod.
But they are all starting to fall over and it's time to tidy up.
The day I took these photos it was very cold, despite being sunny. I clocked up one brave wolf spider and a fly on the wall of the duck shed, which is a sun trap, not that it exactly heats up in January. But when I stopped to look at some moss and lichen on a silver birch trunk I spotted a tiny beetle. What you can barely see here is another miniscule bug to the left of and slightly above the beetle (I didn't notice the beetle until I'd taken this photo), which is what first caught my eye because it was moving about. It might be a springtail, but I'm not sure.
|Tiny critters not actually hiding but you have to look for them!|
|This is the best I can do with my macro lens - the beetle was only about 3mm long.|
|Interesting orange fungal stuff (?) on the old pallets making up one of the leaf mould bins. |
Now to some new growth. I cleared up the old tatty leaves from this Hellebore so that the flowers would show up better. I also picked a stem to bring inside along with some snowdrops, so that I could enjoy them more. The snowdrops burst open into flower after just half an hour, but the Hellebore sulked for 24 hours as the warmth was a shock to it, but it's been happy flowering on my kitchen table ever since. I need to pick flowers more often but just forget!
|First sighting of Lords and Ladies (Arum maculatum) in the woodland .|
|Hellebore - the two pictures that look very pink were taken on a sunny windowsill indoors, |
which changes the colour completely.
|Snowdrops! Can't beat them in January.|
|And here's one indoors just a little while later.|
Apart from these two flowering plants, the primroses are blooming quite well and have been since December, and I can see pink flower buds just starting to open on one of the Japonicas (Flowering Quince). There are also Heartsease Violas flowering away - these plants are tough as old boots and flower all year round and are a welcome sight in the middle of winter. Daffodil buds are just pushing through the ground, but it'll be a while before spring, so I am content to have just a few signs of floral life for the moment.