January is drawing to a close already, and I am still rather conspicuous by my absence here in the blogosphere.
Regular readers will quite rightly have guessed that the joint demands of motherhood and work are conspiring to keep me out of mischief. There really are not enough hours in the day! Gardening and blogging are of course taking a backseat to parenthood, as indeed are many other aspects from our Lives Before. Somewhere along the fifteen-months-and-counting of motherhood, after a few months of rallying vainly in protest, I have accepted that this is indeed the way of things, and will continue to be for some time.
But we still have plans – and plans-in-waiting; plans that we want to make but just haven’t had the chance to form yet – for the garden this year. And I shall snap a picture or two when I can, and slip a few words at a time down in the hope of something faintly coherent that I can eventually publish. So please do continue to look in here from time to time, if you care to. And trust that I am probably just about managing to catch up with your news, even if I can’t snatch the time to comment.
So! I have dipped my hands into the earth just once so far this year, for a snatched couple of hours a few weeks ago, when I finally managed with a spade to lever up chunks of the rather saturated front borders for long enough to stuff my languishing tulip bulbs underneath, before dropping the wedges of earth and tamping these back down again with my boots. Time will tell whether they will accept this rather late and hasty planting to put on a show; I’m frankly rather pleased that I have got them in at all!
The rest of my time on that occasion was spent giving the field border a light winter/spring tidy up. It could still use some weeding, and the remaining borders are still crying for attention, but these will have to remain patient a little longer as time is really not on my side these days!
An occasional spin around the winter garden shows me one or two hellebores in bloom while others are still pushing up hopeful shoots; the winter honeysuckle is bespeckled with fragrant blooms; and snowdrop foliage of varying heights can be glimpsed through the leaf litter that I have yet to clear, I have even spotted the first white bud this week in one of our pots on the patio.
Everything is rather soggy this winter though, as in much of the UK. You would perhaps think that living on a hill exempted us from any flooding problems, and mostly that’s the case. We have certainly been very lucky compared to other places; yet with each downpour our country lanes run like rivers as water pours into them from the saturated fields, channeling along the lanes and pooling in dips so that at times it has been touch and go whether we would be able to leave or return home through these rather deep lakes!
Indoors, we’ve enjoyed a rather unusual splash of colour on the kitchen windowsill this winter: my cuttings of Salvia ‘Amistad’ have taken so well that early in December they all burst into bloom, and are continuing to flower their socks off nearly two months later. I took them far later in the summer than I wanted to, so am pleased that they are doing so well, where others faltered and gave up alas. Not very seasonal, but very splendid. I am a little nervous though that there are five large flowering cuttings still in one pot on the windowsill. Oops. Let’s hope that the roots separate without too much of a fight when I finally get my act together find time to pot them on and out.
What else has been new this January? There have been some amazing skies: sunrises and sunsets, sparkling stars and planets in clear glassy nights. One consolation of my drive through the pre-dawn to work has been some stunning views in cold clear skies, where this month’s unusual alignment of five visible planets at once is hard not to rejoice in. Sadly by the time I reach my destination and can afford to give the skies my full attention, dawn has usually begun to break and the stars and planets have faded from view. But even at a glance, they make pretty good companions on the dark stretches of motorway.