31 December 2022
Each year I have been delighted to see my Camellia Reticulata ‘Inspiration’ start to flower in early December. It usually continues to flower until May. Sadly, it was blown down in a gale in 2022. Luckily it has started growing from the base of the tree and I have high hopes for flowers in a few years time. Meanwhile, I have been checking all the other varieties each day to see which one will be the first to produce an open flower. It looks as If Camellia Williamsii ‘Debbie’ will be the winner.
I sometimes think that winter’s role is to make us slow down and pay closer attention to the smaller or less obvious beauties in the garden. There is plenty of interest and even colour if you look in the right places. This lichen is growing on the branch of a birch tree but is almost completely hidden when the leaves are out. The birds will use it later to help build their nests, so it is practical as well as attractive.
More varieties of lichen on the same tree. I think that this collection is as attractive as a any bouquet of flowers.
The fungal growth on an older tree in the copse. Most of the trees are almost completely covered and some times it is hard to make out the original bark.
The dogs have suddenly shown an excessive interest in the boundary separating the garden from my neighbours. If past years are any indication, my Hellebores are doomed as the rabbits start to visit and ultimately devour them. I have checked them all and they all have small buds emerging. I wonder how long they will last. The Quince shrub has also started to produce a number of blossoms despite the weather. I suspect that these are less at risk, as their thorns should deter even the most determined rabbit.
I like the combination of silver, grey and black even if in this instance it is a victim of the low temperatures a few weeks ago. This tree Echium did not survive the recent cold spell but the branches provide drama in their own right and I will leave it in place until it disintegrates.
This Arbutus seems to be confused by the many weather changes as it is producing flowers again. They are a firm favourite with the birds so I try to enjoy them while I can. It is only when you look closely that you see the lovely blue and pink tinges on the stems.
Rosemary tends to flower all winter in this garden but there are less open blossoms than previous years, perhaps because of the unusual cold spell. The variety Fota Blue does as well as the more common variety and produces a darker flower which to me looks like an exotic orchid. This plant is four or five years old and is in a very healthy state.
I tend to miss the Christmas colour of this shrub which I planted when I first tried to develop a hedgerow on my windswept drive. I think that it is a Drimys Aromatica or Mountain pepper which is noted for its deep red shoots but will have to confirm this by tasting the leaves when I next pass it. Regardless it is thriving in its current position.
The Hydrangea Macrophylla ‘Black Steel Zambia’ has a very dramatic deep purple stem which is matched by the purple lines on the new buds. Mine never produces pink flowers as the soil here is acidic but the colour of the stems and buds a make up for this.
Some of my Cotoneaster are in a perpetual Autumn mode and the orange and pink leaves are a pleasant contrast to the darker tones in the garden in winter.
My Viburnum hedge has been producing flowers for months now and will continue to do so for some time to come. A symbol of hope and beauty for 2023.