Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Signs of life

I tend to think of the horticultural year following the calendar year. I often have a few hardy flowers hanging on in sheltered areas of my garden well into December. The weather in England is mild, but the early days of January can bring some harsh cold. But rarely, if ever, pipe freezing cold.

But by the end of the first month I expect to signs of spring, the hellebores in bloom - the green tips of narcissus and snowdrops poking through.

The hellebores are in bloom (pictures from last year) and the bulbs are coming up.

We took a walk in Richmond Park today - for the first time in a while. The weather has been so rainy and overcast that we can barely go for short local walks some days.

In Richmond Park, the witch hazel trees are in bloom. I've never been able to take any photos of witch hazels that I've been happy with - so this one is from Mason Bryant that I found on Flickr. It was too gray today to an attempt a shot against the sky and I can't seem to get the effect I want with the camera's automatic flash. And I guess I can never quite capture the sweet and spicy smell of the witch hazel or the brightness of the yellow in a bare and cold winter forrest.

I did photograph some other signs that the horticultural cycle is starting over. Like these incredibly early azaleas

first azalea - enhanced version

or these mahonias - another sweet yellow bloomer in the winter woodscape



Anonymous said...

I have fond memories of beautiful witch hazels in Cheekwood, so I purchased many years ago an "Arnold's Promise" (golden yellow) and an orange "Diane". They have both bloomed, but not spectacularly. They may not bloom at all this year... I envy your being able to see them in bloom.

Glickster said...

For more about Hellebores:


By the way, if you're back in TN on 01 Mar, I'll be giving a Hellebore lecture at the Nashville Lawn & Garden Show

thebench said...

If you like Hellebores especially those with Green flowers - You have to see the Heronswood Nursery collection which includes Helleborus x hybridus 'Phoenix'. Masses of olive green flowers with a burgundy margin bloom in early March.