Saturday, 2 January 2016

A New Year Garden and a Strange, Warm Winter

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.


Jayne Hill said...

Happy New Year. I hope that 2016 brings you health and happiness :-}. Lovely to see you blogging again.

Bovey Belle said...

Good to see you back. I was taking photos of wild flowers which are putting on spring growth or even flowering. Everything will get caught out if we have a cold snap.

I pulled all my Nasturiums up at the very end of November but I have baby Nasturtiums coming through now. Amazed to see you still have Penstemons and Hebe in flower. It has been very mild here today, but of course, wet again . . .

SeagullSuzie said...

Good to hear from you. Crazy temperatures are having the same effect here, except that we wont have snow or ice. We should all go out into our gardens and record what's in flower. I have jasmin, roses, and iberis, with daffodil shoots appearing.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Nice to read you again. Happy new year to you too. Yes, you are quite right, here in the North of Yorkshire we are almost under water. The farmer can never remember our beck and our fields being so water logged, but here in the Dales we have fared much better than many areas so far.

We still have roses in bloom - in particular Gertrude Jekyll -alongside Christmas roses and masses of winter jasmine. It is wet, foggy and mild today.

Simon Douglas Thompson said...

Aconite emerging at the right time in the local cemetery. Nothing else is!

Morning's Minion said...

I am delighted that you have returned to blogging. What an interesting post--so many plants in bloom! I think your climate must generally be milder than our usual [?] south-central Kentucky winters. When I gardened in Vermont nasturtium was one the first annuals to be frost-killed, so I am amazed to see that it can withstand even a mild January. I have always coveted hellebores, but my gardening books all list them as 'difficult.' Apparently if they like their situation they are unstoppable.
Please do keep posting!

angryparsnip said...

Happy to see you pop up on my reader.
I can not believe that you are having such a mild winter with so many blooms.
We have much to early very cold and freezing weather.

Happy New Year
cheers, parsnip and thehamish

CJ said...

It's strange weather isn't it. There are daffodils in bloom here, so spring won't be as bright as usual. Lovely to see that hebe in flower, it's always nice to have something around for the bees.

Yarrow said...

Happy New Year to you all. I think you've had worse flooding than I have but our ponies are deep in mud as they have no way of getting off the paddocks for a break! We need some cold weather to kill all the germs that will no doubt be enjoying these mild temperatures!

Ragged Robin said...

Good to see you back and wishing you a Happy New Year :)
A lovely post - we have nasturtiums still flowering here too and birds have also been slow to eat berries (or come to feeders!)

Countryside Tales said...

As we're only up the road from you it won't surprise you to know we have the same blooms blooming here. All very unseasonal, but at least the sky has cleared tonight and it's 6 degrees here now. Good to see you back.

Pam said...

Oh, welcome back! Here, it hasn't been especially wet - but mild, though not to the extent of having daffodils in bud.

Hazel Cottage said...

Happy New Year! I do hope we get some colder weather soon.