January is always a difficult time of the year for me. It's often so dark and gloomy that the day feels like it's finished soon after lunch. So few hours of daylight lowers my spirits and I really look forward to the longer days of spring. That's why the sight of these beauties in the garden is such a tonic.
I remember blogging them this time last year too - that just shows how much they mean to me!
Nature always does its best to improve my mood. A stroll round the garden this morning revealed new life everywhere I looked. Hard as it is to believe, these will be a riot of hot colour come the summer.
It would be easy to give into seasonal blues because the English winter can be a melancholy time. Just look at the sombre scene above. I took this photo a couple of days ago during a walk along the riverbank on the outskirts of Laura's new village home. There's no point of reference for scale but that giant hogweed was 10 feet tall at least! Surrounded by starkly bare trees, and with the calls of unseen but noisome birds the only sound, it was moody and menacing. We've had endless rain and the ground is saturated and muddy. Everything smells of the wet earth but only a minute or two later the sun came out and the atmosphere changes completely.
That's what's so fantastic about our unpredictable English climate. The changing quality of the light and how it affects the landscape literally stops me in my tracks. I only wish I could capture that quality of light in paint. The camera on the iPad doesn't do it true justice either - you had to be there!
The grey clouds engulfed us again moments later. Hedges are a dominant feature of the landscape around here. This particular specimen looks pretty ancient to me. It bears the scars of many years of savage hedge cutting but see how the straight, tall shoots already carry the promise of this year's leaf. It too will survive the trials of winter!
At the end of the lane, after a stiff climb up from the valley, is a farm - there's no need to take Amelie to a zoo when there are neighbours like this just waiting to sat hello!
Laura's been making some beautiful drawings of the landscape for a DMTV video this week and I am inspired to try my hand too. It's far outside my comfort zone but I'm determined to have a go - if anything comes of my good intentions I'll let you know!
Thanks for dropping by - I appreciate your company. Talk to you again soon - Linda