End of Month View – January 2018

Reasons to be cheerful. The first spring lamb has been born in crossroads field at the bottom of our lane. It’s been a daily ritual, walking downhill to check on the flock. Each time, we are hopeful. And then today, we stand at the gate and scan the field. And there, by the hedge, one tiny white lamb. Newborn and softly steaming in early morning sunshine. A joy. A reassurance. After all the family illness of the past few months, worry and fretting, one tiny lamb sends a subliminal message- all will be well. The season moves on and the familiar sights and sounds of our daily life returns to normal. We have weathered the storm and spring is coming.

There’s been some catching up to do in the potting shed. Seed packets are inspected, catalogues perused, and a list produced. It’s a start. Little pots of snowdrops are dotted along the windowsill. I marvel at the variety of markings. Those little green hearts. I could quite easily become a galanthophile.

Hyacinths, set in a dark cupboard in September and brought out in December, are in full flower now. And what a scent! Carnegie, my favourite white variety, brightens the gloom.

On one glorious sunny day, with temperatures reaching 12 degrees, a red-tailed bumblebee sleepily blunders in through the shed door and buries itself in a potted hellebore. I gently shoo her out for fear she’ll be caught in a spiders web indoors. And at any rate, there’s plenty of pollen outside with sarcococca, viburnum and winter flowering honeysuckle in full flower.

Sarcococca humilis attracts bees – and hoverflies. These, I’m told are Eristalis hoverflies, mimicking a bee. They had me fooled.

On sunny days, the snowdrops have a wonderful honey scent. I must admit, I didn’t know this fact until a few years ago when I visited Easton Walled Gardens. We stood at the top of a sunny bank, and the fragrance drifted up. It was breathtakingly beautiful. Sadly, a dull wet day doesn’t produce the same scent. And many snowdrop garden visits since have been on cloudy days. So I’ll just have to hold on to that memory.

This is my “Hodsock” corner at home. Each year we visit Hodsock Priory and buy one little pot of snowdrops for a couple of pounds. It’s amazing how quickly they bulk up. It’s a nice reminder of a lovely day out.

The potting shed makes an ideal reading retreat. It’s so peaceful in there. High in the tops of the overhanging beech trees, songbirds are singing, staking their claim to spring territories. A cheeky robin is taking an interest in the shelving at the back of the shed. There will probably be a nest.

Thanks to Steve at Glebe House blog for hosting this meme and for encouraging me to write. Go over and have a look what his garden looks like at the end of the month and visit some of the others joining in, from all around the world. What signs of spring are you seeing in your gardens at the moment?

35 thoughts on “End of Month View – January 2018

    • I have to smile every time I stand looking at our “Hodsock corners.” They make me really happy. I can’t wait for our outing! Seems ages since we had a good walk through a woodland garden. It’s my favourite annual treat! xx


  1. Such an enjoyable post to read, Karen, and so observant of all the tiny chages round about. The sight of a ‘steaming lamb’ is not something I have encountereed yet, but such a relatively common event takes on a whole new significance when you think of the wider picture and the subtle increase in activity at this time of year. Good to read about all the blossoms appearing – and what a gloriously white hyacinth Carnegie is! I am sorry to read that you are only just getting back to full health but at least you will be boosted by this wonderfully hopeful time of year

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Jessica. I used to just like the singles, but some of the doubles are glorious. And there’s still plenty of pollen for the bees, luckily. Thanks for reading and getting in touch. Have a lovely weekend. x


    • I’ve got a fan heater. Hoping to get a log burner in there one day. It’s in a sunny sheltered spot, so seems to stay quite cosy in there. My husband built it for me and he made a really good job if it. Thanks for reading Brian.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Karen, how wonderful to see a newborn lamb: Mother Nature is wise and loving. The photos are magnificent. The different types of bells in small pots along window sills: why can not you be a collector of Bells, is it very beautiful, is not it? Hyacinthus “Carnegie” with its pure white and its aroma are really beautiful. How do you like animals! Rescue the Hellebore bumblebee so it does not stay inside the Shed! White divine hellebore. Sarcococca humilis I love it even if an insect has passed for a bee. Tu Rincon “Hodsock” is a true delight of Campanillas and memories. Your place of reading, the Shed, is magical. Surrounded by flowers and their aromas, with the music of the song of the birds, with the light filtered by the beech trees and by a fellow robin … Take care of your Mother and you. Wrap up warm. Love for the two. Very dear greetings from Margarita.

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    • Thank you Mike. I’m trying to tidy up the potting shed to get ready for the seed sowing. I’m always behind on jobs. I spend far too much time mooching and gazing at the scene from the potting shed window. I found two rudbeckia flowers on the veg patch this week. They shouldn’t be flowering till summer. A sign that we are not really in control of anything. Plants will do their own thing. Have a lovely week Mike. Love karen xx

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    • Thank you! There’s nothing more spirit lifting than a spring lamb. Snowdrops, aconites and now the first primroses -give a huge sense of hope. We gain an extra two hours of daylight by the end of the month. Reasons to be cheerful! Thanks for reading 🙂


  3. There is certainly a lot to enjoy in February, a newborn lamb is a special treat. And in the garden so much scent and colour. I thought I had lots of bees but perhaps they are hoverflies, they certainly fooled me. I find some snowdrops are more scented than others. Winners of the sniff test in my garden are ‘S. Arnott’, ‘Ginn’s Imperatii’ and ‘Brenda Troyle’.
    It’s always fun to have a peep into your lovely potting shed.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ah, I didn’t realise some have more scent than others. I shall rush out and sniff S Arnott- and look out for the others you mention. Yes, that first lamb – plus golden aconites and snowdrops give a huge sense of hope. Plus we gain an extra two hours of daylight by the end of the month. Thanks for your kind comments. I’m happiest pottering in my potting shed to be honest. xx


    • Thank you Derrick. I’m just wrapping up warm to walk downhill to check if there are any more today. Spring lambs,plus the early sheets of snowdrops and golden aconites give a huge sense of hope. Plus, knowing that we gain an extra two hours of daylight by the end of the month. So cheering for the spirits. Thanks, as ever, for reading and for your kind comments which are much appreciated.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Annie. Must admit, most of my garden is a wilderness. But there’s little patches of spring joy. The sheets of snowdrops and golden aconites rewllynlift the spirits. Plus we have two extra hours of daylight to look forward to by the end of the month. Yay. Thanks for reading and getting in touch. Love karen x


  4. Popped over for a visit from Steve’s blog. How lovely to see all your snowdrops and hyacinths. I envy you your potting shed. I have a small shed and I do have a bench so can use it to sow seeds etc. and it does have a window! But it’s not really big enough and there are far too many spiders/webs/woodlice for comfort 🙂

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    • Thanks for coming over. What I ought to say, is that I have to share the potting shed with the ride on lawnmower and in the rafters there’s my husband’s boat masts and rigging, which clatter about, sounding like the seaside. But the robin perches there, so I can’t complain. Mine too has spiders and wood lice which I carefully relocate to my bug hotel. Still, there’s a kettle and toaster- most important additions for a potting shed, I think. And a tin of Mum’s banana cake. Yay. Thanks again for taking the time to read and get in touch. Karen x

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    • Thank you Eliza. It was a heart-sing moment to see that beautiful tiny newborn lamb. Plus the early snowdrops, yellow aconites and first primroses give a huge sense of hope. Exactly as you say- signs of spring are most welcome. Daylight hours increase in leaps and bounds – and by the end of the month we’ll have two more hours to enjoy. Thanks as ever for reading and for getting in touch. Karen x

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  5. This post was for me. I love snowdrops. Our garden was white this morning, covered in snow. I know I’ll never be a real gardener. I’m thankful the ground is frozen, and I don’t have to do anything with it for weeks yet. It’s because I don’t love gardening that I enjoy reading about those who do.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your lovely, kind words Anne. I must admit, I enjoy mooching around the garden, sniffing out signs of spring, than I do digging the garden and sweeping up leaves. I spend far too long just gazing out of my potting shed window at those banks of snowdrops- when I should be getting on with work. Still we need every little bit of encouragement that spring is just around the corner. Thanks again. Love karen x


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