Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Reasons to be Cheerful

The way we have suffered with the weather over the last weeks and still are right now, optimism about the oncoming spring is really hard to conjure up. We had a sunny interval yesterday so I decided to have a walk around my much neglected forest garden and was quickly reminded that the force of nature endures most things, including incessant rain and gale force winds and apart from a few broken branches there was no terminal damage.

Whilst passing the Eleagnus I noticed to my amazement that flowering had finished and fruits had formed, could this be due to the hot summer and the extremely mild winter thus far? Further up I came to my hazel orchard already resplendent in thousands of drooping catkins now joined by the tiny red star shaped petals of the female flowers, they all looked happy enough and hold out the promise of a bountiful harvest of nuts next autumn or maybe earlier as they seem so advanced. Then on my way back to the house I saw that the Strawberry Tree (Arbutos unedo) was still in flower having bravely survived all through the worst of the storms so far.
Finally another little gem my Cornelian cherry (Cornus mas) waiting to burst into flower. here's the picture gallery,
Hazel catkins showing a female flower (if you look closely)

Eleagnus fruits

Dainty bell shaped flowers of the Strawberry tree 

Flower buds just about to burst on the Cornelian cherry
During January I visited the fantastic gardens at  Schumacher College near Totnes in Devon and couldn't resist adding these pics, not bad for the 14th January. Oh yes another sunny interval!!

 This is part of an avenue of mature witchazel this not only looks spectacular but smells divine.

 Now this is what I call a strawberry tree with massive fruits which unfortunately were past their best for eatng.

So I am back indoors having dutifully filled the log cupboard hopefully for the last time tonight. That sunny interval but just a dream, I can at least reflect with some optimism that this will all be behind us  soon and that spring will have its way.