GBBD - January Brings the Snow...

Click to enlarge image if needed. Clockwise from top left: Clematis cirrhosa 'Freckles', Pulmonaria, Primrose 'Cottage Cream', Galanthus nivalis

It was touch and go whether Blooms Day would be held here at VP Gardens this month owing to the week upon week of frosts with a little snow and the many freezing cold days we've had since the beginning of December. It's officially the coldest start to winter for 30 years, but of course we still have a while to see whether that title will be upheld.

As a consequence all the plants in bud last month have stayed steadfastly so, except for Lonicera x purpusii 'Winter Beauty'. However, my winter honeysuckle's flowers are so small, they confused my camera and stayed resolutely unfocused in the viewfinder. The same happened with my rosemary (another new bloom this month) and my Erysimum 'Bowles Mauve' (in bloom for a whole 8 months so far!). The winter jasmine has retreated to the back fence in a huff and a spiky Berberis (due for removal, so feeling particularly spiteful) stopped me from having a closer look. Another consequence is a number of last month's blooms have shut up shop for the winter. However, I was cheered to see the Cyclamen are putting out new buds after only a couple of days of mild weather.

Not really enough flowers for a slideshow this time, so November/December will continue winking away in my sidebar until I get bored and put something else on there. I've made a collage for you instead this month. You'll see the primroses survived the big freeze - they've been blooming since July now, which is just plain crazy. The Pulmonaria is new this month and serves as a reminder that I must replace it with its blue flowered, spotted leaved cousin as the large plain leaves of my pink one are soooooo boring. Clematis cirrhosa 'Freckles' is still cheerfully adorning next door's garage wall. But my favourite prize of all are the first snowdrops - I first spotted a clump of them in bud on Christmas Eve, the earliest I've ever seen them. Now 3 clumps - 2 of single and one of double, are just peeping bravely above the ground and can be judged as being in flower. These and the first daffodil spikes (about 3 weeks later than usual) give real hope that winter is being conquered and dear Spring is finally on its way.

Tuesday saw my first casualty of the big freeze. As the ice melted it revealed the birdbath has sprung a leak. At least I have the opportunity to give it a really good clean before getting out the grout to repair it. A bumblebee flew past just as I was making my inspection of the damage - a cheering bit of compensation and at least I had some suitable blooms to offer it sustenance. It must have been a cleaning day at its hive after weeks of being kept indoors.


  1. Hello VP and congrat. you have actually something growing and flowering in your garden on this GBBD. Sorry about your beautiful birdbath.
    The sun is shining here today tadaaa... so I'm getting out soon to enjoy some sunshine.
    Carpe Diem / Tyra

  2. I must try to remember GBBD next time round. It is too damp and dreary to be out there taking photos this morning besides which there is very little out. I agree with you that the plain leaves of pulmonaria are boring, but it is always well ahead of its spotted cousin in terms of flowering. Give it a reprieve :) Hope that the birdbath can be mended - here the big freeze has damaged a ball akin to the one that your friend Madame Zelda employs.

  3. I see a birdbath come planter in your future. My GBBD showing was puny so I added a couple more categories to add interest. Here's my GBBD in Raleigh, NC

  4. Hi VP, such cheerful little blooms, that clemmie is a wonder, I must look into learning more about it. I find the rosemary very difficult to shoot too, no wind and the right light seem to help, but it's still pure luck to get a clear photo. I am loving the erysimums too, we had a brave bloom but it wasn't used this month since there were some other prettier pix, now I feel bad it wasn't included. Your poor birdbath, glad you will be able to fix it with grout, I didn't know that was possible. When mine crack, I make them into planters. :-)

  5. I find it impossible to photograph rosemary flowers and also winter jasmin.

    Its a pity about the birdbath - lets hope the grout does the job

  6. Dear VP,

    You have lovely blooms in your garden today...What a good looking bird bath and it's reminding me to repair mine. This time I think I will mosaic over the insides, it will add color to the brown that is my garden right now! You've inspired me...again! Have a good afternoon.


  7. The only snowdrops appearing here are falling from the sky, VP:) It's wonderful to see all your blooms--though you may think they're few in number, at least you have something blooming! I can't believe you still have a clematis in bloom.

  8. Your clematis is a real good 'un, it has been flowering for ages now.
    So sad about your birdbath - good luck fixing it. My long toms of lilies have all shattered in this cold. :(

  9. Cracks just give us character--right? That's what I keep saying as my face shows age. I need some facial grout.

    Today is a good day to see if my heucheras are cold hardy and evergreen while the cold gives us single digit temps.

  10. Just looking at the photo, I thought your Clematis was a Hellebore. Yes, that's how long it's been since last I set eyes on either flower. While some years I've had Galanthus in bloom at this time, I'd have to dig through a couple of feet of snow to even find mine. Please sniff yours for me.

  11. Poor birdbath. I like that you saw the silver lining in the leak though-and a bumble bee too! A treat!

  12. Hi everyone - glad you liked the show for Blooms Day! I've visited most of you already to have a peep at how you're all faring this January :)

    Some of you were wondering whether the birdpath's repairable. I've managed it once before with grout about 6 years ago, so I'm confident it should work out OK this time too. The colour's almost the same as the birdbath, so it's almost invisible.

  13. The primrose 'cottage cream' is very pretty. Good to know that your lovely birdbath is repairable.

    Thank you for stopping by my blog and leaving a comment. And oh yes, I love your slide show too!

  14. How sad about your birdbath. But you are lucky to have found some flowers. Like MMD, I thought that the clematis was a hellebore at first. It's really lovely! Thanks for sharing your gems for Bloom Day, VP.

  15. Touch and go? Well, I'm glad it turned out to be a go. Thanks for joining in for bloom day, and I hope you can fix that lovely bird bath!

    Carol, May Dreams Gardens

  16. Kanak - lovely to see you here and thanks for the very kind words :)

    Nan - but I prefer your blooms ;)

    Carol - thanks for visiting on your very busy world tour. And yes, the birdbath can be fixed, though I'll wait until the weather gets a bit warmer...


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