True, there is little pleasure to be had in the winter garden anyway, for me; there is beauty in all seasons and glistening evergreens and frosty blades can be as lovely in midwinter as on a summer’s day, but it’s too damp to sit out for too long, even wrapped up warm, and there is no work that can be done.
The first day of February is the day of Imbolc the ancient Celtic beginning of spring, marking the first signs of new life. We are a few days off yet, but I think the shift has come a little early this year. There is still a way to go before I open my curtains to the bright sun and not a dazzling moon, but the land is stirring.
The very welcome sight of new shoots emerging from the cold ground, and the promise of dormant bulbs soon to be transformed into the first vernal blooms, never ceases to bring me joy.
The dwarf rhododendron is always the first shrub to flower at the beginning of March. The buds are ripening in readiness. However, this year there is a surprise.
Cat mint doesn’t usually reappear until well into March. Yesterday, I decided to chop down the old stalks that I had left over winter and Paddy and I made a discovery.
All three of the nepeta are already rejuvenating. The winter has been fairly mild so that could be a factor. I didn’t tidy the bed as I usually do, so the old wood may have provided some protection from the frost. Or maybe it’s all down to global warming. I hope this early growth is not too soon and that February is kind.
Buds are appearing.
This fern, planted last year, spent the spring and summer in shades of russet and gold. I wondered about its health. When autumn arrived, the other ferns faded and then shrivelled, whilst this one turned green and lush. Unexpected and wonderful!
These resilient herbs have kept both colour and scent through the winter, even the lavender. That’s a first for my garden!
And the fennel smells as gorgeous as ever as new shoots make their way towards the light.
As another week of short days passes by, I’ll secretly ponder the changes that are taking place above and below the soil and happily anticipate next weekend’s revelations.