Saturday, 21 December 2013

The Shortest Day

A thin Winter Solstice sun rises behind the trees
The Winter Solstice. Now there's an event worth celebrating. Never mind all this commercialized, Santa and sleigh bells, possible birth date (?) of the Infant Jesus malarkey. The shortest day, the turn of the year, the official beginning of winter. From now it is onward and upward into spring, days getting longer, sap rising and summer beckoning frantically. It's pretty much forgotten now of course; most 'townies' do not know what it is, do not know its date and would not be able to tell you its significance. They would care less, too, in the rush to Christmas, wrapping paper and mince pie cookery.

Winter Iris breaks surface
We are starting to see some signs of spring already - pictured is a good sized clump of Winter Iris emerging in one of our big tubs in the yard. These were bulbs generously given to me by Pud Lady when I was over in September. In the 'Rose Walk' a good show of new daffodil shoots reminds us of the net of mixed bulbs which came to us from the Steak Lady; both the 'Mums' have made their mark on this garden. Thank you Mums.

Some early bud expansion is also making an impression - in this case currant bushes in the Jam and Jerusalem hedge and on a flowering currant (Ribes) in the raised flower bed. Ribes are probably the easiest and earliest way of getting food to the bees in spring, so we will be planting plenty and then trying to strike cuttings from these bushes, all part of our wildlife gardening push. We are both enormously looking forward to how the pond, in particular, will fare. Will we get frogs and newts? Will the aquatic plants which we had mail order from the UK and which have mainly died back in autumn, leap back into action with spring?

Meanwhile we had to smile at this bizarre sleeping position by the boy-pup Towser. Wait till 'Daddy' puts his boots in front of the range, let them warm up a bit, then sink your nose down deep inside like a person drinking in the scent of a rose flower, and FALL ASLEEP. Daft beggar.

Happy Solstice!

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