End of month view for December and what is in flower on 2nd January

For most of 2010 and 2011 I took part in the end of month view in the garden, hosted by Helen at Patientgardener  It has been fascinating to have a record of the passing months although I must admit I slipped a bit at the end of last year.  My garden sadly does not have fabulous bones, even though it is in a fabulous place, and particularly when autumn and winter are windy and wet it all looks rather soggy and sad.  So I have decided to cheer myself up by posting pictures of what is in flower in the different areas as well and to my surprise a lot was in flower when I went out with my camera on the 2nd January 2012.

Here is the side garden.  How I wish for a crisp gravel path running up towards the gate and out into the field to the workshop.  At this time of year the grass is muddy and worn.  Truly uninspiring.

But there are things in flower if you take the time to look.

In the foreground of the picture, behind the sweet box, the first of the hellebores has started to flower and just beyond it a single solitary cyclamen shines in the sun.

Out in the field the new orchard is just bare trees and rough grass.  There is no sign yet of the little daffodils around the trees.

But in the bare and scruffy cutting garden, two sunflower heads still twist against the sky.

There is a rose in flower in the little garden behind the holiday cottage

and a wallflower coming into flower too.

In the corner of the field the hamamelis mollis came into flower quite suddenly.  One day I went to see if it was flowering as it is not on any of my daily paths and is easy to miss.  The greybrown twigs were thin and bare.  And then I caught a whiff of its scent on my way to the compost heaps and found the fizzing, spidery explosions dancing against the bare branches.

There is nothing happening on the sunny bank from a distance.  The little quince tree which has been shedding a branch or two a year for the last three years lost another big branch in the winds.  We might have to accept that it is turning up its toes.  The wood is brittle and thin.  We are thinking about biting the bullet and taking out what is left and planting a new crab apple a little further away from the bench.  I fancy a Malus John Downie but would love to know what you would recommend.

  On the bank the pink valerian is still throwing up the odd flower.  I know this is a thug but the bees and butterflies love it and it grows where other things won't.  I intend to be stricter with myself this year in moving the little seedlings to really inhospitable places rather than letting them have the room which could be given to my pinks and irises.

The kitchen garden isn't doing much either.  Down at the far end where the hens live there is so much mud it is like a battlefield.

But the pineapple sage is still blooming against the wall.  I have taken some of my salvias into the greenhouse but this one survived in the most sheltered spot in the garden through last winter's snow and severe frosts so I hope it will be fine this year.  This bed is due for a rethink this year.  The far end is grown through with snowberry but I am intending to dig it out and to give the bed over to more salvias, flowering herbs such as rosemary and annual poppies and marigolds.

And back in front of the house, the campanula is still in flower even though there are snowdrop snouts pushing up a few feet away.

Today Ian trimmed the new native hedges in the field for the first time.  I am not keen on January and February but at least we are half way through winter now.  Soon there will be snowdrops and crocuses and daffodils.  I must try not to wish my life away!


  1. Thank you so much for that virtual tour- I loved it! You really do have a wonderful garden...

  2. I suddenly feel uplifted and alive after reading this beautifully penned description of your garden. We have all that to come now the new year is born; garden writing paradise as the seasons unfurl. Isn't this a splendid prospect?

    The question I am almost too timid to ask is have you seen similar blooming plants during the course of past Januaries? Everything seems more topsy turvy than usual in my humble opinion although, unlike you, I do not have my very own garden to bury my hands in and observe. Thank goodness I have my garden writing to nourish me and thank you for supplying so much horticultural pleasure too.


  3. Your garden is in such a stunning position , with its views of the hills. Lovely to see so many early flowers too. A very cheering post on a cold day!

  4. Spring will be here before we know it. My garden isn't a quarter as tidy as yours, but I still find it restful to look out, through the rain, and know that there isn't a thing for me to do out there today.

  5. It is quite amazing what we can find in flower when we take the time to hunt it out isn't it? You have a lovely garden, and yes, it will soon be spring!

  6. TH - there are bits that are wonderful and there are bits that are simply a mess! Fortunately the wonderful view is always there.
    Stephanie - I think the answer is that there is more in flower this year than usual. I have been back over my photographs to consider your question and certainly in the six years we have been here we have not had so many things still blooming. Usually winter is quite cold up here and things stop and don't get going again until the snowdrops bloom.

  7. Lovely round-up. You've got a lot trying to flower. Don't think we're as advanced as you are, although I noticed a few hellebores starting to come out, some snowdrop 'snouts' as you call them - very appropriate. I've heard reports of daffodils already as well, but haven't seen any. In London, my roses have gone on all winter so far, as have my geraniums.

  8. It's uplifting to see your flowers in bloom, though t's the wrong time of the year for them. Nature is a little confused. It does give me hope for an early springtime. I can't wait for next month's photos. I'm real curious what's going to be showing on them.

  9. Hi Elizabeth, how charming the form of your little quince tree is. I hope that it will give you another year. Have you considered allowing its form to remain in the garden, even when lifeless?

    I can see, in my minds eye, multiple birdhouses mounted to that little tree in concert with your feeders. Painted out in bright colors or muted tones, I believe it would be a beautiful scene to behold and unique, too.

  10. Great to see plenty of plants in flower at this time of year. I'm always amazed what can be found when you look closely enough!

  11. Good luck with moving the pink valerian! It grows all over the place here, including out of a tiny but inaccessible spot in the house wall behind a metal rain downpipe! Impossible to get rid of, and probably not good for the wall either. I'm watching my new garden with interest - all sorts of things are peeping through, but not far enough yet to identify them.

  12. Hello and Happy New Year to you, Elizabeth. It's great to see from this post just how beautiful nature can be, even in the darkest weeks of the year. Your photos are marvelous. xo

  13. Happy 2012 Elizabeth. Enjoyed the tour and the views very much. Re the quince replacement, wondered about rare Welsh fruit trees

    Your salvia is looking as pineapply as mine but with more picturesque backdrop

  14. I think your garden looks beautiful (if I did the same photo tour of my garden you'd be appalled!) Roses are amazing - they always seem to be attempting to flower. I'm very envious of your hamamelis mollis - what a lovely specimen.

  15. You have such a wonderful garden that it is no wonder that the flowers feel they have to come out and see it. For imagine being closed in, entrapped in cave or hibernation tight buds, when you wanted to look out, when you wanted to see. And more than see but to wave your petals and defy the frost and snow and wind to do their worst. Vanity thy name is flower. As for my garden I shall feel very happy if a single one of the apple grafts I made in the autumn actually produce leaves. There were eight of them; each a different apple variety from the Mill. We'll wait for April and see.

  16. I'm surprised at how much you have in flower. Here? Zilch. Roll on spring!

    ...and don,t be too modest. I spy some good bones in your garden!

  17. Your garden seems to have bones a'plenty , nothing municipal about it at all ! Even when muddy , it's a delight .
    It's a strange winter . Our borage is still flowering , and there's a sea of fresh , self-seeded , chervil .... and fat happy snails .

  18. I have to say that your garden is looking very good indeed compared to mine - I have no winter flowering shrubs and not many berries either. Every year I say I'll do something about it and so far haven't got round to it. I really would love a witch hazel and since it's open enough to plant things I may just go and see whether I can find one at our local nursery!

  19. Holy cow, all those flowers in JANUARY???? Wheee! Also, I'm for giving the quince tree another go, as well. Feed it some good fertilizer and give it some love, see what happens.

  20. Beautiful - but the thing I'm most envious of is the SUNSHINE!

    (But I'm sure your garden looks equally good in drizzle...)

  21. Wow! Iam amazed at how many flowers you have in your gorgeous garden! After the last two winters there it must be a relief to not be buried in snow? Well we have had a warm winter here in Oregon, I still have roses blooming,garlic emerging, and the marsh mallow is coming up a month early, -no hellebore yet.I had to travel to get snow, and boy did I get snow!

  22. The hamamelis mollis looks lovely! You have such a beautiful garden. Spring must be really gorgeous there.

  23. Oh, how I envy you that big garden and that view. Yearn.... Still, it's lovely to see yours.

  24. 1.I like your woodpile quite a lot.
    2. Why is the pink valeria to be shunned? It's lovely. I would be delighted to have such a thing in my Canadian garden.
    3. I thought the So of Fr was one of the few places where roses bloomed in winter. Not so!
    4. Is mimosa more or less the same thing as your yellow flowring thing, the name of which I can't remember and don't want to scroll back up to find out as my computer is acting up. The mimosas are flowering a good 3 weeks early here.
    5. I like your reference to a 'crisp' gravel path.
    6. Happy New Year, Elizabeth! XX

  25. Everything's so green - such a change from grey, grey Seoul! When we lived in the midwest (in the US) I always started looking for the crocus shoots by the end of January. Somehow, just seeing the little green spears gave me hope that Spring really was on the way. Thanks for posting these sunny hopeful photos...love them!


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