Garden Views-01-January 2016

January 2016 continued November and December’s terrible run of weather. On the morning of January 15th, as I entered this onto WordPress, the village of Eglwyswrw in Pembrokeshire, not that far from us, featured on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, as closing in on the record of maximum number of consecutive days of rainfall (they’ve had 81 so far), ever recorded in the UK . The current record was from 90 years ago on the Isle of Islay, where they notched up 89 days with rain every 24 hours. In our case, I’ve recorded that we only had a single 24 hour period without any measurable rainfall since November 1st, though it’s likely that some mizzle even fell then. So an it’s been an unprecedently mild and consistently wet period. It will be intriguing to see what follows in the rest of the year…

All this mild weather meant snowdrops continued to flower early, species Galanthus rizehensis, below.SDIM5231 (2)SDIM5234 (2)

The rather attractive Eyelash fungus, Scutellinia scutellata, was found by Fiona in the garden for the first time.S1010067 (2)

At last, on January 14th, a sunny day was followed by hail showers and sub zero temperatures overnight, so that after a lovely sunset and sunrise,SDIM5243 (2) we woke to more of a wintry scene.SDIM5293 (2) Masses of Cyclamen coum.

SDIM5299 (2) Crocus sieberi ‘Firefly’, always our earliest Crocus, and a delight even when the flowers don’t manage to open in the cold.SDIM5301 (2)Although several early snowdrop cultivars manage to spread petals in the feeble, cold sunshine, I’m not sure which this one is, though it has the folded leaf margins typical of a Galanthus plicatus hybrid.SDIM5336 (2)Our earliest daffodil, Narcissus ‘Rjinveld’s Early Sensation’, continues to push up lots of flowers, in what looks like will being a bumper year for daffodils, following a poor 2015, after a cooler damper summer of 2015, and a very sunny spring last year. SDIM5340 (2) Daphne bholua ‘Jacqueline Postill’ is still filling the garden with sublime scent.SDIM5302 (2)SDIM5304 (2)SDIM5315 (2)SDIM5339 (2)And the ground hugging Cotoneaster dammeri, on the bank behind the house, looks lovely in these conditions.SDIM5343 (2)SDIM5316 (2)After a day of bright sunshine, the hail that then fell onto our washing line spiral, melted from the quarry tiles earlier than from the crushed slate, the following day. SDIM5295 (2) And one of the delights of January evenings – to stand and watch the clouds colour at dusk, and hear the over head whoosh as the starling flocks fly towards an unknown evening roost, towards Llandysul, in wave after wave.SDIM5278 (2)SDIM5280 (2)SDIM5287 (2)

Then on January 19th, a very sharp frost meant we woke to a cloudless sky, on the 20th, for the first time since November 2nd.SDIM5361 (2) And a wonderful hoarfrost.SDIM5370 (2)Collapsed snowdrops.SDIM5365 (2)And for a second time in 3 years an amazing ice spike – right outside the back door…SDIM5378 (2)SDIM5389 (2)

Even bigger than the ice vase seen almost exactly 3 years ago. For an explanation of how ice spikes form, then click here.SDIM5377 (2)SDIM5243 (2)SDIM5350 (2)The two dry days were followed by more grey and wet weather to the end of the month, with temperatures warm enough to see Crocus flowers opening in conditions so gloomy, that photography was difficult. The final rainfall total for the month was 296.5 mm, not quite as heavy as in 2014, and the PV reading was also not quite as low as for that January, but only just!SDIM5435 (2)SDIM5477 (2)SDIM5423 (2)SDIM5408 (2)S1040001 (2)SDIM5409 (2)SDIM5463 (2)SDIM5446 (2)SDIM5424 (2)