Winter still has us in its grips, but in the garden there are signs of the seasons changing.
Last autumn, we had a massive drop of acorns in the New Forest. Some have been eaten by foraging animals and insects. Some have rotted in the wet leaf mould where they fell. Some are beginning to germinate.
This primula was a small houseplant in a pot last year. It was planted out after the flowers had finished. It has spread over the summer and now a new generation of flowers is breaking bud.
The white, single flowered camelia has started blooming this week.
...........some hidden in the heather........
.....and daffodils in bud.
A pile of broken twigs and branches, ripped from the weeping willow during high winds and storms.
Fencing was broken down by the wind, behind our neighbour`s garden.
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Yesterday there were more spectacular storm clouds rolling in from the west. Dry times abruptly ended as rain and hail battered down. Heavy showers would pass quickly and leave blue skies in their wake.
We walked beside the floods again at Ringwood and found the old railway line. The Castleman Corkscrew Line once carried trains between Brockenhurst and Wimborne, until the Beeching cuts of the 1960s closed it down. Now there is a track to walk, cycle or ride along.
We stood at a gate onto riverside farmland, where cattle graze in summer.
Beyond a muddy gateway and empty cattle feeders, floods stretched across the land.
No more signals on this railway.
A few pussy willows were breaking bud. Silver white against blue sky.
Deep red shades of Alder catkins brightened trees beside the river channel.
Seagulls rested on emerging, higher grassy mounds.
Amazing skies. Ever-changing layers of grey and white clouds reflected in the floods.
Looking back across The Bickerley to Ringwood town, .......
we walked across a footbridge, over swirling water, beside red bricked cottages.......
...and watched a swan, gliding across wide floods towards its mate.
I walked though a back lane from Ringwood`s old market place, to have a look at the floods on the edge of the town. A channel of the River Avon flows here, beside a small park. After the recent rains, the Avon has burst its banks and the channel and main river are flowing as one, across acres of drowned fields.
The wire fence in these photos shows the usual river bank and a field boundary.
The footbridge that normally leads to a footpath over fields, now stops at a meadow deep in water.
Water flowed angrily through deeper channels, but at the shallower edge, water weeds shone green.
The park showed signs of earlier flooding with puddles and slippery, muddy grass underfoot.
Beneath a stand of trees, purple crocuses survived the flood and opened their flowers to the pale sun.
This residential road was still flooded and closed, although several others are now useable again.
The Bickerley fields are usually a public area for walking and playing games. They were wet with standing water this weekend.
Natural pruning had stripped brittle twigs and branches in recent high winds.
The cottages of Bickerley Terrace are not far from the river, but seem to have escaped from the flood.
Across the fields, floodwater shone like a silver mirror, stretching away across farmland and down towards the distant sea.
Living in the beautiful New Forest, I am a married late-fifties woman, a recently retired teacher and the mother of grown up boys who have flown the nest. I share my days with cats, dogs, ponies and the wildlife all around us. Starting this blog is a chance to explore woods, fields, lanes and heath with my camera. A chance to share the simple pleasures of my country life.