Sunday, January 15, 2012

January flowers

And now for probably the most peculiar January Garden Bloggers' Bloom Day post I shall ever write (I hope).

As all British gardeners are acutely aware, this has not been our usual chilly frost-bitten winter in Blighty. Normally we're just about poking around for the first nubs of snowdrops and crocuses edging warily through the earth to see if it's spring yet (it isn't).

We have our greenhouse heaters going at full blast, we have several layers on just to crunch up the drive (trying not to slip embarrassingly onto our backside in the process) the sun hasn't been seen since late October and we're generally a bit on the grumpy side.

We don't - generally speaking, and last year (and the north) excepted - even have any snow to make us feel all this misery has been worth it: it's usually alternating between cold and sodden, cold and frozen, cold and windy and drizzle (cold).

Not so the winter of 2011/12. We've been struggling to fall below double-digit temperatures at night: by day it's positively balmy. My garden is full of snowdrops: the crocuses are edging into flower. The roses and nasturtiums haven't stopped since September: even my Nicotiana mutabilis were still going strong until the first hard frost of the year struck just two days ago, on 13 January. Yes, you read right: the first frost of the year. I have never, ever had it frost-free for so long.

I am rewarded by more blooms in my garden than I have ever had before in January: the winter flowerers are overlapping with the spring flowerers and some of the summer flowerers which have refused to go to bed. Part of me loves it and is revelling in the spectacle, to say nothing of the warmth and the spring-like sunshine. And part of me is filled with dread at the havoc this will play when the true spring begins. Will we even have one, I wonder?

 Valerian (Valeriana officinalis)

 Alpine strawberry 'Baron von Solemacher'

 Snowdrops (Galanthus nivalis)

 Skimmia japonica 'Rubella'

 Rose: one of several we refer to as our 'grandma roses'

 Pelargoniums still flowering in the terracotta pots on the patio

 A host of golden daffodils on the hill

 Even the lawn has daisies already...

 And this hydrangea has forgotten to stop flowering

 Leucojum vernum

 Mahonia x media


Viburnum x bodnantense 'Dawn'

PS by way of a reminder of how very odd all this is: I stumbled across this picture today, taken of our garden almost exactly a year ago.

Thanks go as always to Carol at May Dreams Gardens for hosting Garden Bloggers Bloom Day!


WashingtonGardener said...

wow - still hydrangea and nasturtiums! Your mahonia photos reminds me I should go and look at mine, it could be in bloom - I never pay any attention to it as it out in my median-strip between street and sidewalk against a telephone pole. At least it survives my neglect and abuse.

Artist's Garden said...

I know - it is bonkers and driving me mad
Yesterday I was looking at the snowdrops, and the Pelargoniums and the snowdrops and thinking "Why are you both in flower?"
We also had our first frost on the 13th Jan

Larry said...

Such a beautiful post! Thank you... Larry

The Constant Gardener said...

Hey WG: yes mahonia survives all manner of abuse - I don't think I've touched mine for over a year yet it carries on being gorgeous anyway :D

AG: my thoughts exactly. What are you all doing here?!!

Larry - thank you :D

LittleGreenFingers said...

It feels very much like enjoying an illicit late night teenage party, but knowing that, at any moment, your parents are going to come home and there will be HELL to pay.

Elephant's Eye said...

your closing picture does put it into frightening perspective. We are being hit by a two day heat wave, after an autumnal December. Just as weird for us.

Oxonian Gardener said...

Can't help but think the same. If spring is on our doorstep now, what of 'spring' and summer will we have? Also worried that the weather is selling the plants a false sense of security. February is still to come. A severe frost would do quite some damage. Magnolia's are in bud, some buds opening already, frost will put a horrid end to that promptly. One things constant though, gardeners always worry...

The Constant Gardener said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Constant Gardener said...

Dawn - you've hit the nail on the head :D that's exactly it!

EE - I think the party is going on all over the world... heat waves in January? Whatever next?!

Hi Petra, I'm trying to ignore a niggling feeling that winter is just around the corner and the parents are going to arrive home in February - and possibly March too -with a howling maelstrom of snow, frost and ice. Which means not only magnolias but also all those seeds I'm intending to sow next month will be just as discombobulated as my daffodils are now. Ulp...

Elephant's Eye said...

BTW link to the original railway post

The Constant Gardener said...

thanks EE - will show the hubster first thing :D

Lydia said...

Your blooms like they are straight out of California! Enjoy.

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