Bring me Sunshine.

“History never repeats itself; at best it sometimes rhymes”. So said Mark Twain, apparently.

I think the same sentiments could be expressed about the appearance of any garden from year to year, and as I write this on New Year’s day, I do at least have the chance to scroll back to see what was happening this time last year.

What a contrast between the last day of 2021, and January 1st 2022, above, with January 2021, below. Not much of a rhyme, frankly.

Back then I wrote:

“January began with the garden and landscape under snow, a situation that continued until the 11th, with the temperature on many days never getting above freezing, and some very hard frosts, with minus 12 degrees C registered one morning, and often minus 5 degrees C by 3 pm in the afternoon as the sun fell away”.

The Met Office have just confirmed December as the gloomiest ever in the UK as a whole (sorry M.O., but judging by our PV records here, December 2015 (22 KWH) was even gloomier than 2021 (39 KWH)😊.

We’ve also just had the highest ever UK New Year’s Eve temperature at Bala, Wales, of 16.5 degrees C, followed by a new Welsh record January daily minimum temperature of 12.8 degrees C at Trawsgoed (Dyfed).

This morning at 6.00 a.m., this was the reading outside our own front door, in a strong breeze heading up from The Azores. So, in the space of 2 years we’ve gone to the opposite extremes of (current) temperature possibilities for early January weather. A familiar violent oscillation of weather conditions that wherever you are in the world, you’re probably now becoming accustomed to.

With that beginning to the year, what predictions have I for the rest of 2022, and its impact on the garden?

I’ve absolutely no idea, but with having to trawl through all my images from the blog in 2021 by this coming Thursday, to pick just my favourite 3 to grace my annual blog book, I’m including below a selection of images in chronological order from just the first 3 months of 2021. All in one place, to remind myself what we might have ahead of us. Although as Twain expresses, even a loose resemblance to these scenes would probably be the best we can hope for, as weather and light tweak the gardener and photographer’s hoped for results.

Or to crib from Eric and Ernie’s classic sketch from 1971, we’ll probably get all the same garden displays, but not necessarily in the same order, or playing to their 2021 standards. Some will be better, some will be worse. Such is the joy of gardening in West Wales, in a changing climate.


At least with perfect timing, the first two buds of Daphne bholua ‘Jacqueline Postil’ opened in the gloom today.

The garden in 2022 will at least soon be filled with sublime scent, if not sunshine.

Happy New Year.

14 thoughts on “Bring me Sunshine.

    • Hello TP,
      Thank you, and I’m glad they lifted your spirits – it always amazes me how I forget what will inevitably begin to appear as the days lengthen. So it gave me a real boost too by compiling this gallery.
      We’re both blessed, I think, with living in beautiful parts of the world, and having the time and energy to explore them.
      May the sunshine return often, and bathe your neck of the woods,
      Best wishes to you both for 2022,

  1. Wow, Julian, I am really and truly impressed by your plantings of snowdrops. They are outstanding! Best wishes for the New Year.

    • Thanks Paddy, though I don’t think they’re in your league! All very slow this year, and sadly many of the named cultivars aren’t that garden worthy in our wet conditions. Perhaps I should acquire a few more Irish origin ones, like ‘Castlegar’, which does seem to bulk up, albeit slowly here. In contrast, many of my Welsh origin variants of nivalis do really well!
      Best wishes too to you both for a healthy and happy 2022,

      • ‘Castlegar’ is very attractive but slow even here in its homeland. Your large spreads of snowdrops are far superior to the often seen small spots of ones and twos. My preference at any rate.

  2. You have a tough job to choose your photos. I remembered to buy the crocus sieberi that you recommended and I have a few in a pot coming up, so that I don’t miss them, and some others taking their chances in the ground. Amelia

    • Thanks Amelia… well done with the sieberi ‘Firefly’. It, and that photo of a group in the snow, is one of my favourites. A real delight for early January, though like everything else here, a little late this year. Just keep an eye for rodents – they seem to prefer it to some of the other Crocus. I hope you get some lovely candles this year, even if they rarely open!
      Best wishes

  3. Such a New Year’s Treat seeing all your wonderful photos. It’s exciting to see what happens this year in your garden- it will be hard for you to beat 2021…it’s a challenge!! Thank you Julian

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