It is a long time since my last post. A very busy summer and problems with my camera have kept me away, but another year is beginning and I am going to try again!
It is the second day of 2016. It should be the middle of winter. Here in the New Forest, not far from the Channel shore in Southern England, winter seems hardly to have arrived.
Temperatures are mild despite rainstorms blowing in. Garden plants are confused into flowering months earlier than usual.
In the shade below a stand of pines, hellebores are flowering alongside cyclamen.
Below, summer nasturtians are still in leaf. They die back every autumn in the first frosts. Until this winter.
All this week, rain has fallen, for hour upon hour. We went to sleep to the sound of heavy rainfall and woke this morning to the same. The land is saturated.
The last rose of the old year is rotting in the rain.
Water flows down across the fields, which slope away from higher Forest heathland to the north. A pool gathers and soaks through the raised garden beds. The wild pond has overflowed.Gradually it will all drain down through ditches to the lane.
A Lenten Hellebore mistakes this mild, wet January for early spring.
A pile of sweet summer hay makes a good breakfast for wet ponies.
Daffodil spears pierce through the garden grass, as they usually do in March.
Bulbs are appearing early and all together.
An iris, bright in unseasonal flower.
Daffodils in bud beside aquilegia in new, spring leaf.
Hebe Hidcote has not stopped flowering since early last summer. A welcome nectar source for insects still awake and flying in these mild winter days.
The flash of a summer penstemon still in flower.
Holly berries in the boundary hedge are a good food source for winter birds. Normally the berries are all gone by mid December. This year, native and overwintering blackbirds and thrushes still have insects and worms to enjoy, so many of the holly berries still remain.
Every March, I love to look out for the bright yellow splash of early celandines. This year, they have been in flower since late December. The white flowers are summer arabis.
Atlantic storms have flooded wide areas of Northern Britain in recent weeks. Rainfall has been unprecedented and so many people have suffered flooded towns, villages, homes, businesses and land.
Here we seem to "catch the tail" of those storms. Ditches overflow and Forest tracks run like shallow streams as the water finds its way downhill.
Will we soon be freezing under ice and snow this winter, or is this strange, warm, wet weather here to stay until the real spring comes?
Wishing everyone a good year in 2016, wherever you are.