Monday, 9 January 2012

In Defiance of Winter

 I spent some time in the greenhouse yesterday as it wasn't too cold, watching the birds come down to the feeders, that we have now hung again after the feeding station had been practically demolished with the winds.  Although the greenhouse glass was pretty murky I managed to get a good shot of the Goldfinches feeding and squabbling.  They are so colourful and exotic-looking it's hard to believe they are in a UK garden.

 I have just done a post on my other blog here about Snowdrops, so I though I had better check up on mine.  At last they are pushing through the ground - I only have this small patch so far, but I would like to increase their number for next year.

Tulip leaves
 Checking out what else is coming through I saw that the Tulips that I have planted in containers around the pond are making a show.  Tulips - in January? 

Lavender cuttings

I am a big fan of Lavender and the new plants I put in last year have bushed out really well so I took some cuttings to increase my stock.  Most of them have taken, so I will put them into individual pots now and grow them on.

 Usually, at this time of year, there are no berries left on the Cotoneaster - it is a sign that the winter hasn't been too cold, as I have hardly seen the usual Blackbirds and Redwings  gulping them down like there is no tomorrow.


I haven't seen any Redwings in flocks in the surrounding fields either - perhaps they have decided not to migrate this year.  Come back - you're forgiven!

This beautiful dark purple Hellebore is in flower - I am so proud of myself - I grew it from seed, and it has taken two years to finally flower.  The one on the bottom right is a huge plant with lime green flowers, not particularly a favourite, but the one top right is pale pink when it is young, then the flowers turn a dusky red as it ages.  I can't believe that once I didn't like Hellebores, so glad I changed my mind.

Apple tree prunings
 Finally, I spent a couple of hours this morning out in the gardening pruning the apple tree.  My neighbour asked me to cut it back as it hung over her garden, and as her side gets the sun, the wasps arrive in their hundreds to eat the ripe fruit.  So I cut off the best fruiting branches of the tree to satisfy her.  If I hadn't done it, she would, so I had no choice really.  My back was aching by the time I had finished - just shows how unfit I have become over the winter.  Never mind - with all the jobs that need doing - I'll soon get back in shape for the busy year ahead.  


  1. I normally see lots of Goldfinches at this time of year, but this year I have only seen the occasional one or two.
    I have lots of bulbs pushing through too. I reckon the first Crocuses might be flowering in a couple of weeks.

  2. Love the little birds. We just have a pair of cardinals and sparrows now. Your garden looks like Spring is around the corner. This is a nice post. xo Jenny

  3. Mark's Goldfinches are here in our garden. I've never seen so many. Your hellebores are lovely. I never tire of them Everything is ahead at the moment, including me! It was so nice I was out in the garden today doing some work!

  4. I rarely ever see goldfinches - just two last year, and I've never seen a redwing!
    It's good to see all the new growth as it's a sign of joys to come. Flighty xx

  5. Janet must have my goldfinchs as well. Well done on the hellebore - it's a beauty.

  6. Goldfinches are so beautiful, I've seen them in the field behind us but they never come to the feeders. We did se a nut hatch on the bird table at the weekend though, that was exciting!

    I love your hellebores, well done for growing that from seed!

  7. Nice to see you've got goldfinches on your feeders too. We had a flock of about 15 visiting a few weeks ago. Just have a couple of pairs now. Well done with the hellebores from seed, lovely colours. I grew some from seed a few years ago, but all their flowers were white.

  8. What a good pruning neighbor you are! We haven't begun to prune the apple and cherry trees - must do in February, IF it ever gets good and freezing again!

  9. oh my gosh, I don't think I've ever seen goldfinches with so many beautiful colors! The ones around my neighborhood are either solid yellow or red. You make a good observation at the end--garden chores are a great way to keep fit!

  10. That is one gorgeous hellebore! Mine is a new one and is just now sprouting leaves (after getting more and more shrivelly this fall).

  11. Your Hellebore is so pretty Elaine. I would be proud of it too. I am excited that mine is about ready to bloom.
    It is strange that you are having such mild weather too.

  12. Hi Elaine, Your plum hellebore is beautiful and is all the more impressive for having been grown from seed. Just the other day I was listening to the radio and heard a report about trumpeter swans failing to migrate south from northern Canada. Apparently, there is a small flock who are now refusing to make the yearly journey. It seems as though mild winters are affecting birds worldwide.

  13. Those Goldfinches are gorgeous. I never saw them with red heads like that. I too love Lavender and I always make new plant each year to donate to plant sales. They are easy to root. The photo of the Redwing is so good in amongst the berries. In my garden, berries are always taken so quickly, I rarely get photos of the birds in with them.

  14. That purple Hellebore is gorgeous...I do love purple. I planted some Hellebores from seed last year so hopefully I will have flowers next year.

  15. I am also surprised at how the weather has influenced the tulips and other plants into beginning their spring production. I hope all turns out well as we may have some hard frosts and snow later in winter.