stepping stones of truth

A journey along the path of life - the stones can be rough, smooth or even wobbly!

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Glimpses of spring

In these dark days, after our small cold snap (London had a scattering of snow, but not down here in the South West) there are small signs that spring is around the corner.A variegated periwinkle (vinca major) is flowering, and preparing to conquer the world by sending out runners and shoots everywhere. It causes me a bit of heartache when I have to curtail its rampant growth later on in the summer.

I only planted this shrub last summer, and it was a thrill on this dark morning, to see its cheerful waxy blossoms. Chaenomeles japonica, (flowering quince) does particularly well in our village. Large bushes can be seen against many sheltered walls and fences. But January is a bit early to see blossoms, especially on such a tiny plant.

Hurrah for the snowdrops! Always such a welcome sight in January.

The border under the rowan tree - hence the spattering of white bird poo on the cyclamen leaves, as the tree holds a couple of bird feeders! You can spot snowdrops, a pink polyanthus and - hiding in the middle at the back - a couple of Christmas roses or hellebores (helleborus niger). Their pink flowers are almost green at this time of year. I will try and take a better photo as they come out a bit more.

And the patio pot of winter pansies has been colourful all winter. With no frost to speak of, the blooms have been continuous. The small spears of dwarf daffodils will be budding and flowering before long. Great swathes of daffodils are flowering beside the roads here, months earlier than normal.

The cold spell of freezing temperatures seems to be over, and it feels quite warm again by comparison. Not the winter weather that I remember as a child, when chilblains were common - from coming in with frozen toes and toasting them in front of the fire.


At 4:14 pm, Blogger Tabor said...

A periwinkle in January? You must have a wonderful climate. The only periwinkles that I know bloom only in the hot humid heat of summer. I must look up this one.

At 5:48 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I googled "Hoya" and this is what I found! "Hoya is a genus of tropical plants in the Asclepiad family. When one thinks of hoyas one usually thinks of the old favourite, Hoya carnosa, which is better known as "Grandma's Old Fashioned Wax Plant", and lets it go at that, assuming that is all there is to it. When curiosity gets the better of a novice grower, to the point that he or she orders an advertised catalogue, just to learn why anyone would have the nerve to advertise a catalogue with only one plant in it, shock often results from learning that Hoya is a genus comprised of around 200 different species, plus numerous cultivars." Wow.

At 4:02 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

For more about Hellebores:

At 8:29 am, Blogger Val said...

Ooooh is that my first spam comment? If so, its very elegantly done. I did the reference librarian thing, and found this webpage about the founder. (His show garden was laid out by someone from Devon UK) But being in West Virginia its not a lot of use to me! I suppose I shouldnt encourage it really.

At 9:08 pm, Blogger Zen said...

The cycle of life is a wonder...

I love seeing signs of spring

At 3:48 am, Blogger Kerri said...

Ah, signs of spring already...while we're living in a frozen world, or we will be, for the next several days. Our snow has been very pretty lately.
Love those flowers! I just can't imagine great swathes of daffodils this early!

At 9:15 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you like Hellebores especially those with Green flowers - You have to see the Heronswood Nursery collection which includes Helleborus x hybridus 'Phoenix'. Masses of olive green flowers with a burgundy margin bloom in early March.


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