January flowers

A strange lull. There are gentle snowflakes falling outside. But they really aren’t the sticking type. So the much heralded biblical winter storm hasn’t quite materialised.

In fact we had one of those absurd days yesterday where it was – dare I say it? – cold but really mild. And sunny.

So instead of doing really useful jobs like rock work, I was flower arranging.

I wanted to cut down a few dozen of the dried dahlias that are still decorating the ceiling of the potting shed.

Pause. I just went outside to go up to the potting shed (bit of a plod through the garden) and I turned back. It’s freezing! So you don’t get a picture of the remaining amazing dried flowers.

The orange flowers – Sylvia – are definitely the stars of the dried flower show.

And then to fun up the bouquets I cut branches of the yellow willow that grows above the top potager. And added in some cornus midwinter fire stems from the walnut bank.

Not showy. But delicate little bouquets that might bring cheer to my friends who will be freezing to death at the market tomorrow morning.

I added in the three daffodils that are flowering out there – January King – I think. There are more to come, but as that is also at the far end of the garden I am not venturing forth.

I did venture further afield for my other ‘flowers’ this month. To the wattle bank on the next mountain.

I wasn’t planning on heading that way, but I had a rather irksome errand to attend.

Hunting lost car keys.

Oh curse living on a mountain top surrounded by forest and a carpet of leaves on the paths. I had the keys in my pocket when I was tasked with an urgent errand on Sunday. Take Jacques laptop back to his hamlet as he had left it in a neighbour’s car.

Off I trotted and I suspect the keys fell out of the hole in the gilet pocket somewhere on the path between his hamlet and ours. Precisely one kilometre of needle in a haystack track, and back.

I have ordered a new set (with the shameful admission that I have lost the original key) but am now cursed with forever looking down when I go on my forest past missions in case I catch a glimpse of the the darn things.

The mimosa are not quite in flower. And I think they are actually desiccated from the blast of cold last month. But they have a delicate scent which cheers.

The other bit of Australian flowering delight this month is the potted anigoxanthus – the kangaroo paw.

I spotted it in flower (just starting to emerge top left) as I was fleecing all the potted plants in the potting shed. And decided to err on the side of caution and bring all three plants into the office here. They can take dry cold, but I don’t want to lose them in case I’m wrong.

I have already ‘freeze dried’ some scented pelargoniums.

And to complete the set of winter ‘flowers’ with an Australian theme; eucalyptus leaves.

I have protected the young eucalyptus tree growing in front of the potting shed as best I can with fleece and branches of broom which I push in among the young tree stems. But in case it gets slammed, I wanted to keep some of the lovely glaucous leaves here indoors to admire and maybe to mourn if the tree carks it from the sustained cold.

It hasn’t had a proper cold winter since I grew it from seed a few years ago.

And finally …. sedum flowers!

Dried coppery delights. All I needed to do was leave them in situ in the garden and let nature take its course. All that effort I took to try and see if I could dry them this autumn.

They look so beautiful in bouquets.

And I don’t even wish for the amazing pink they were just a few months ago….

Yes I do.

But it’s a compromise I’m delighted to accept.

Mid winter is a time to accept that things are going to be dulled and subtle.

I’m keeping my Christmas decoration at the front door.

It will be a reminder how far off my explosion of colour in the garden actually is.