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Sunrise on a new year

Sunrise on a new year

Hello again, and a very happy 2013 to all.

I do hope this year will be a bit of an improvement on last year’s – with eyepopping statistics just about to be announced, no doubt informing us – as if we needed the rubber stamp – that 2012 was indeed the wettest since records began. The evidence here is all around: the Levels are under water, and driving over the Salisbury Plains to my Mum’s house after Christmas was like driving through Waterworld.

Still, in the spirit of New things, I’ve got a shiny new blog to unveil today: I’ve been tinkering around a bit as I’d got a little jaded with Blogger, and a bit annoyed by the fact that my URL didn’t fit my blog’s title. It still doesn’t match but at least it’s now relevant and doesn’t secretly annoy the wonderful and admirable Wellywoman. So I made the well-worn trek across to WordPress and here I am.

(please don’t look at the rest of the website just yet: I am a baby where website building is concerned and Do Not Know What I Am Doing so it’s rather rubbish while I’m fiddling about figuring out the answers to various niggly little difficulties).

Anyway, to celebrate January 1st I thought I’d start a little annual challenge, based on a competition I used to enter (and come last in, every year) with the Surrey branch of Plant Heritage – an organisation worth undergoing ritual humiliation for every January if it raises a few pennies to save some long-lost garden cultivar from oblivion.

We had a little form to fill in, on which you listed every plant in flower on January 1st. Mine was a very, very short list: in fact I claimed the prize for the shortest list pretty much every year I was there. The best I heard about was a stoic 28: I can only sit back and admire in wonder at such wintery prowess.

So here’s your challenge. Since it’s now dark outside I won’t stick to Jan 1st, but during this week pop out and count how many flowers are out in your garden, and let us know about them. There is a virtual bunch of (winter and highly scented) flowers for the winner, plus a major allocation of smug points.

Here’s my list: just four, though beauties all. General verdict: could do better, I think. If I’m still here I’ll repeat the exercise this time next year (giving us all time to plant a few more January gems in the meantime).

Cyclamen coum

Cyclamen coum


Nerine sarniensis ‘Blanchefleur’


Mahonia japonica


Viburnum x bodnantense ‘Dawn’