Sorry I didn’t come to the party. When a person is newly divorced Christmas isn’t the same and I just wanted to duck out and look after myself….. and Fizz….. and the birds.
We didn’t have a bad Christmas though.
For most of the past week the weather here has been like this…
But that picture doesn’t capture the cold or the howling wind. The wind is carrying the cold and it is bitter and nasty.
I have found myself laughing out loud when I realise that Fizz is still expecting to go out. Once you get out it is not as bad as it looks.
For Christmas day everything changed and amazingly we woke up to a clear blue sky and still air. Without the wind it was warm and beautiful, like a spring day.
There are flowers about that don’t have a clue what month it is.
But by and large the hedgerow gives away the season.
As do our long shadows at lunchtime.
Speaking of lunch, I did get a Christmas dinner. If it looks a bit sad and lonely, well, that’s how I wanted to photograph it. Not very vegetarian either but then I did say that, ” when I come to your house I’ll eat what’s put in front of me.”
That was brought to me by a neighbour and it was a kindness that I couldn’t refuse (as was the bottle of whiskey that accompanied it) 🙂
It is not my fault.
I had a very pleasant, quiet and relaxing Christmas. I spent a lot of time with Fizz, got my dinner for free and had a drink and watched some movies.
So that is Christmas past, good!
I so love the next bit.
Like an excited kid I found myself going through all of last years photographs looking to see the first day that I saw each flower.
I was new to the area last year and I didn’t know where to find each flower. My first photograph of a Snowdrop in the wild was taken on January 28th But I bet that I can knock at least a week off that this year because I know where they grow.
I started making lists..
Snowdrop. Jan 28
Red Dead-nettle. Feb 02
Daisy. Feb 16
Primrose. Feb 22
Early Crocus. Feb 24
Lesser Celandine. Feb 24
Marsh Marigold. Feb 27
Field Speedwell. March 06
Hairy Bitter-cress. March 07
Common Chickweed. March 08
Colt’s foot. March 09
After that it starts going crazy and it is new flowers every day and in the second week of March the Butterflies are back.
This is the thing that I love. The Swallows will be back in April, All sorts of birds will hatch in May. Badger cubs will poke their heads out of the sett for the very first time. Adders will be mating and oblivious to me and my camera.
But I get to help him look for these things and it takes us hours.
When I was a kid, winter was cold, I mean really cold. I can remember my dog Suzy getting out on bonfire night when I was about eleven and I was out in the pitch black trudging through snow up to my knees, calling for her and searching for hours. November was always a cold month. It is just not like that now but… Do our memories play tricks on us?
Were summers really everlasting? Were winters really cold?
Yesterday I found myself writing about the Snowdrop and I turned up some interesting stuff from The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
Galanthus nivalis, The Common Snowdrop
There are twenty species of Galanthus Snowdrops native to Europe, the last one only being identified in 2012. They all look very similar and are difficult to separate. There are also many garden cultivars but by far the most widespread is the Common Snowdrop (Galanthus nivalis). Native to Europe it is “naturalised” in the UK, that means that it was introduced here, probably in the sixteenth century and is now generally considered to be native by most people.
The French call this little flower perce-neige which literally translates as pierce-snow. The tips of the leaves are hardened to allow them to break through snow and ice.
Kew Gardens have been monitoring the arrival of the first Snowdrops since the 1950’s and at that time Snowdrops opened late in February, by the 1990’s they were opening in January. In 2014 Kew announced their first Snowdrops on December 5th. Winters really are warming up.
The Snowdrop has six petals, three outer and three inner. Technically these should be called tepals. Tepal is just a term used when you can not easily distinguish between the petals and the sepals (when they look the same). The inner petals have a small green mark that looks like a little bridge.
Each bulb generally produces two, long, thin (Snow piercing) leaves, It has a leafless flower stalk that carries a single flower and above the flower are two bracts, joined together by a papery membrane. The insides of the petals often have green markings. There are six stamens and a single style.
The Snowdrop flowers very early in the year, when there are few pollinating insects around, as a result the plant usually spreads by bulb division rather than seed production, however they will last into March and do provide a very valuable source of nectar and pollen for early Bumblebees, Honeybees and other insects.
They would be a good addition to any wildlife friendly garden.
Species: Galanthus nivalis
I hope that you all had a really easy and wonderful Christmas. We will talk about the New Year later 🙂
I will catch up with you all as soon as I can now, promise.