In a small window between storms I managed to get out into the garden. Although most of it is sodden and completely dormant there is the odd hint that things are still growing and getting ready for Spring. It is this thought that helps keep us going through the short days and long nights of January and February. Whatever the weather I try to nip out for half and hour here and there just to see what is changing. The mahonia above has been blooming since well before Christmas and is strong and vibrant. On my little trip up the garden today I also spotted the witch hazel which is on its way now.
I found a beautiful white Christmas rose which was a particular pleasure as this was a plant Paul had picked up cheap from a garden centre reject stand ( one of his favourite activities). We had two and they were so potbound that I thought they would never survive. Sure enough one just rotted away, but I moved this one to a different spot ( under the mahonia) and it seems to be much happier here.
And finally I found this. I wasn't quite sure what it was - but I knew it is South African and will flower all through our winters. I've just looked it up in our one and only reference book, RHS A to Z of garden plants and find it is a Schizostylus or Kaffir Lily. I bought it at the wonderful Hill Close Gardens in Warwick. If you are anywhere close to these gardens they are so worth a visit. They are a number of Victorian allotments rescued from the developers even as the bulldozers came in. They have a lovely cafe too and excellent and good value plants for sale.
So even in the coldest bit of the year there are bits to enjoy - probably we enjoy them even more because there are so few. I guess that is what keeps us doing it!