This is the first in a series of blogs which I will write at the beginning of each month through 2012, and will show what is going on in our garden at that time – a sort of record of garden highlights.
So the new year has arrived. January 1st was a dull overcast day, with unbroken deep grey cloud and regular periods of drizzle. But at least it was warm with temperature holding up in low double figures all day. But not a day to perform a photographic wander.
So here I am on the 2nd January with camera in hand to record what’s going on appreciating a blue sky, but well wrapped against a freezing wind. Buzzards are sharing my joy of seeing a big blue sky as they are soaring silently above the garden with none of their usual sad cries. The garden is noticeably quiet, the bird feeders far less busy than they usually are in January. There is just the constant quiet, barely perceptible winter song of the Robin who follows me around and the equally gentle twittering of Goldfinches, Blue Tits and their long-tailed cousins.
Enjoy a walk around with me and my camera, as we take a tour …………
The newest addition to the garden, just planted today, is the dark foliaged Euphorbia "Redwing", spotted with fresh rain drops following a shower.
This brightly flowered quince, Chaenomeles "Fire Dance", glows at the drive entrance, providing a cheerful welcome.
This clump of bell-shaped flowers of Arbutus unedo, the Strawberry Tree, overhangs the roadside verge. We are so grateful for its performance as it only just survived the onslaught of the last two winters. We rescued it with heavy pruning.
Orange stems of Cornus "Cardinal" with the white stems of young Betula utilis in the newly planted Shrub Garden.
Sea shore find amongst Euphorbias.
Terra-cotta pots and the pink flowers of Bergenia sit at the feet of Miscanthus and driftwood.
The yellow-faced blue Violas flower in pots by the front door.
In the Rill Garden two very different Hebes with colourful foliage sit in front of an orange-stemmed dogwood.
The low light of winter turns the cut foliage of the purple-leaved vine blood-red.
The creamy-yellow berries of the Cotoneaster rothschildianus hang in clusters covering this small tree.
The flowers of this pioneering Primrose appear too delicate to survive the cold of January.
Warm brown seed heads give so much to the Chicken Garden in winter.
The grasses throughout the garden catch both the winter light and the gentlest breeze. The curly seed heads of this Miscanthus napalensis are soft to the touch.
In the Secret Garden the cream metal seats become more dominant just when they are too cold to sit on.
In the Japanese Garden the blooms of our pink version of Prunus autumnalis subhirtella are a joy to look at.
Move in close and appreciate the pink glow.
The hottest of the coloured stemmed dogwoods must be Midwinter Fire - ours grows on the bank bordering the wildlife pond.
The white-stemmed Rubus sits alongside Midwinter Fire on the pond bank.
The fruit of our apple "Pixie" remained too tiny to pick so we have left them for the birds, who so far have ignored them.
Jasminum nudiflorum has been flowering by the chicken's run now for four months and is still going strong. What a star!
The mad seed heads of the orange-peel clematis, which I grew from seed, never cease to amaze me even though I see it each morning as I collect the chucks' eggs.
We seem to have calendula flowers somewhere in the garden every day of the year.
One of five Achillea still flowering away in January, this variety "Biscuit" is in the Secret Garden.