Winter in the garden …..or is it Spring? Today was one of those days when the seasons seemed to change within minutes. One minute a beautiful blue sky with sunshine, the next racing clouds heavy with the threat of winter. For someone who doesn’t see their garden during the week at this time of year as it is dark when I leave in the morning and get home at night this sort of weather is incredibly frustrating. I need to get outside into the garden. I need the fresh air, to fiddly around doing whatever tidying jobs come to mind, to think and ponder what I might add or indeed remove from the garden but most importantly I want to enjoy the thrill of spotting new shoots emerging through the soil. There is something special when you spot the first daffodil pushing through, or maybe in a few weeks peony shoots, it all feels so much more positive.
Having topped up the bird feeders in the sleet with dark clouds and the wind blowing everything sideways I started the day thinking that I might as well just give up and set myself to do some sewing. Consoling myself with recording what birds visited the garden for the RSPB birdwatch meant that I spent an hour watching the garden from the upstairs windows while it alternated between being bathed in sunlight or blasted by the intermittent wind. Its not a bad garden was my conclusion. It is starting the benefit from my new found enthusiasm and the borders are starting to look a little more care for than this time last year. Time to take stock maybe and think about what the next step is. It is clear that there are a few plants that need to just go as I don’t like them, as simple as that, although it sounds harsh. There are a couple of small conifers – sort of bluey grey things – which are just dull dead patches regardless of the time of year; they are definitely on the list and I think the fig is really far too ambitious for my garden; I seem to spend more time trying to keep it in check than enjoying it and if I am really honest I don’t even like figs.
Despite the changeable weather the bird count wasn’t too bad:
- Blackbirds x4
- Chaffinch x 3
- Robin x 1 (seriously, there are normally 3 hassling me for food, where were they when I needed them?)
- Blue tits x 4
- Goldfinch x 4
- Hedge Sparrow x 3
- Great tit x 2
- Crow x 2
- Pidgeon x 2
- Jackdaw x 1
- Wren x 1
I haven’t done the bird count for a few years so I can’t remember how this compares to other years but I think it wasn’t too bad.
And so I cleaned the kitchen until just before lunch when the sun broke through and I decided it was now or never. I charged around outside in the garden for one mad hour. I planted out some spent indoor hyacinth bulbs, cut back the last of the perennial seed-heads in the front garden so I could see the snowdrops and other new shoots, and also tidied up in the early Spring border outside the Living Room window uncovering the best clump of Eranthis that I have. I admired the hellebores which are all bulking up now most of them have been in the garden for a few years. I took some deep breaths, felt the sun on my face, enjoyed all the signs of Spring and then nearly got blown over by a gale.
A typical January day in the garden.