Freezing fog here for the last 36 hours, so my scampers round the garden have been largely abandoned in favour of curling up by the fire. But it’s left coatings of ice on seedheads and cobwebs, which is at least pretty.

frost on cobweb

early spring shrubs

Enthused by posting a pic of very early cherry blossom (my Mum’s neighbour’s tree) on Christmas Day, I remembered the twisted cherry “Kojo-no-mai” that I’d had and loved in London. Full of seasonal self-indulgence, I ordered one on Christmas afternoon. It arrived two days ago, and is now potted up (into a swing-bin base). They’re slow-growing, so that will do for several years, but if I can persuade to keep a fairly columnar habit I think it could eventually go in the front garden.

Despite the very cold and dismally damp weather, the camellia buds are now showing the first flush of pink.

camellia bud, pink petals just starting to show.

now is the turning of the year …

Today is what I stubbornly regard as Midwinter Day (despite attempts by astronomers and others to redefine “winter”). The first signs of the earth reawakening as shoots of the earliest daffodils in the pot by the French window start to push through the debris of last summer’s creeping jenny.

Later, I’ll bring in the Christmas Tree (sadly, it suffered a bit from under-watering last summer) and decorate it with strings of lights and golden baubles to celebrate the returning Sun.

daffodil shoots among debris

open today …

The fern-leaved clematis (aka Clematis cirrhosa var. balearica) has opened its first flowers of the winter. It’s very variable, opening anywhere between mid-November and late December. but is definitely a seasonal stalwart.

clematis flower, bell-shaped cream speckled with maroon

damage repair

The rose arch blew down in the recent gales – partly my fault for not pruning it, so there was a mass of very long shoots to catch the wind! Today’s the first day I (and the weather) have been up to doing something about it.
It’s now upright again … though given the contribution from next-door-cat Enzo, it may not last all that long!

fallen wooden rose arch


repair rose arch with black cat on top.


Back from a couple of days away to find that the first winter jasmine flowers have opened, in the pot outside the French window.
For me, a sign of promise, as spring here is mainly a parade of yellow (winter jasmine, forsythia, yellow crocus, daffodils, …).

2 yellow winter jasmine flowers


The first actual real ground-frost of the winter has hit. There were a couple of nights at the start of the month where there was frost on the shed roof, but the grass and low-lying plants were untouched, but today the lawn is white.

Most of the seven years I’ve been here, first real frost has been in the first week of November, so it’s late this year.

frost on leaves

It’s gone !

Over the seven+ years I’ve lived here, the conifer in the patch behind the house has nearly doubled in size. As it was south-south-east of me, it had started to shade much of my garden except in the height of summer when the sun is almost overhead. I will never understand why people see fit to plant forest trees in small suburban gardens!

OK, I’ve planted a few trees in my own garden – eight, in fact. But these are all in some way either naturally small (Glastonbury thorn), espalier pruned (apples and pears) or restricted by being in pots (fig, loquat, patio peach).

This morning I was alerted by the muffled sound of chainsaws … to see bloody thing was finally being dismantled. It took two tree surgeons several hours, plus most of the afternoon chopping up logs, but a bit of noise is a small price to pay for a massive increase in winter daylight!

Photos not brilliant, as shooting against the light is always tricky! All images are “clickable”