Sunday, 9 January 2011

Watching the winter garden

Winter arrived in November with a blizzard of siberian proportions, leaving behind a garden hidden from view, blanketed in deep snow. Over the last few months the snow and sleet, mist and fog, murky and freezing days have reminded me how temperate and pleasant our weather normally is.

Today is one of those rare, frosty blue-skied days that have been lacking so far this winter. But in every snow-laden storm cloud there is a silver lining and for a few months the garden has been full of birds.

Robin, wren, dunnock, wood pigeon, collared dove, blue tit, great tit, chaffinch, woodpecker, jay, magpie, starling, blackbird, thrush, the list goes on and it's been a delight to get to see these birds, not hidden shyly on a background of green but up close on the bird feeders and table. Keeping the bird bath unfrozen has been almost impossible, keeping the squirrels from running off with the fatballs they have pilfered from the hanging feeder absolutely impossible.

The garden has emerged from the snow over the last couple of weeks, dreary and bowed, the remnants of autumn leaves now a sludge across the lawn and various shrubs and plants broken and dead from the weight of snow and overnight temperatures that dropped into double figures below freezing. All around the remnants of last year's autumn still clinging to branches and fences, uncleared before the snow fell. But already I can see new growth and the delightful pale green of new shoots as the garden decides, for now, this winter tempest is over.

(click on photo for larger image)

snowfall over garden

cold buffet

robin and dunnock on buddleja globosa

willow covered in frost

ivy covered in frost

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