Garden Views-01-January 2018

January 2018 began with the garden in a saturated state, and with many snowdrops and even the first Crocus and Narcissus flowers already out, or at least above ground – the first time that this has happened in all our years of living here.

In spite of a lot of daytime grey skies, early mornings and late afternoons occasionally produced fabulous light and skies, before or after the daytime gloom.Winds were often brisk and from a Northerly direction, though hard frosts infrequent, thanks to cloud cover.

Fortunately in the garden the January stalwarts excelled and delighted once more – Daphne bholua ‘Jacqueline Postil’, which continues to sucker here like a wild cherry and fills the garden with sublime perfume and colour, for months on end. Cyclamen coum and Crocus sieberi ‘Firefly’ in David and Valentine’s bed.

And our ever increasing number of snowdrops. Until late in the month, no good light for en-masse photography, though individual special forms were delightful, even under grey skies. Numbers really start to build through February, but the continuing cold weather means that as well as being an exceptionally early season, it will also be a very long one.A rare super blue moon put in an appearance after dark on the 31st, as did a Crossbill, Loxia curvirostra, early in the month, and a wonderful sequence of Pied Wagtail, Motacilla alba, preening inspired a poetic burst from me at the end of the month.

So by the end of a cold, and generally wet month, light levels indicated a fairly average month for January in this part of the world, and the monthly rainfall of 191 mm was a typically wet start to the New Year.  A couple of sunny days late in the month helped the PV inverter record recover to an acceptable level.But more significantly, the continued run of 7 months with no significant dry spell – one needs to go back as far as June 2017 to record more than 3 dry days in a row in a single month – left much of the garden and fields permanently sodden. Indeed this is what the forecasters have been telling us we might expect from winters now, as a consequence of a warming climate.