A bit of sun, and scarecrow building, got us out in the garden for a few hours today.
It’s a mess if I’m honest. Mostly because we decided against cutting back many of the border plants for the winter, thinking their stems would look pretty on frosty mornings. We’ve only had a couple of hard frosts so far, but lots of heavy rain. So we now have a sodden mass of tangled stalks.
But if you take the time to look, there are some winter beauties out there. Here are some of my favourites…
We planted a couple of quince alongside the garage last year. It’s a gloomy spot and we kept forgetting to water them over the summer. They survived our neglect, but now most of the blossoms are getting munched by some pest or other. This is one of the few that has escaped.
We have lots of mature viburnum around the garden, so I was surprised at first when Steve brought this one home last year. But with its flushed pink flowers, it will be one of our winter highlights once it’s established.
Witch hazel is a fantastic winter-flowering shrub and we want to make space for more in the garden. This one is Arnold Promise – it was a Christmas present for Steve, so has only been planted a couple of weeks.
One of the loveliest things we inherited with the garden was the spring bulbs. I have a particular soft-spot for the snowdrops, which were just coming into flower when we moved in on a freezing cold January day two years ago.
Other than a few acorn cups and maple seeds that our daughter painted gold for Christmas, I didn’t expect to bring the garden into the house much this month.
But early last week I took a wander over the squelchy grass and came back with this…
Most of these flowers are from shrubs we inherited with the garden.
I have no idea what variety the pink rose is. The plant is a bit scraggly, its leaves never look very healthy and it only ever produces one or two flowers at a time. But it keeps going well into the winter and that seems a good enough reason to let it be.
The delicate pink-white viburnum has become a firm favourite of mine. We are lucky to have several mature ones dotted around the place. Last spring we gave a couple of them a pretty hard pruning, and they have come back better than ever. They are smothered in buds and should keep us in-flower until the early spring bulbs make an appearance.
But the mahonia is the star of the moment. It has been flowering for a good six weeks now and still looks wonderful. Looking at it across the garden on a dull day is cheering enough. But bringing a few sprigs inside, you can really appreciate the bright, fragrant blossoms. In the depths of winter, it feels like a promise that spring will return.
Outside-in charts my attempts to bring the garden into the house with haphazard English Freestyle flower arranging.