**UPDATE – one of my readers knows exactly what my ‘wild strawberry’ is. It is a ‘White Dead Nettle’. Please do check out Stewart’s blog,‘From The Notebook’ – it is a wealth of information for nature lovers!
Joining Barb in The Outdoor Hour Challenge
Today we took our first official ‘Outdoor Hour’ nature walk of the new year. Above us was lovely winter sunshine, in the distance we could see a shower coming. But this is England – you cannot let the threat of rain stop you from heading out into the great outdoors 🙂
We headed out with ‘Seasonal Reminders’ being our leading thought. For this walk I really just wanted us to get a feel for January. It is fair to say that England has had a few years of ‘extreme weather’. Last year January it was sub-zero temperatures and bucket-loads of snow, this year we once again are experiencing ‘extreme weather’ but this time with a series of storms that have battered our Island with gale-force winds and enough rain to cause severe flooding in many areas. So our January looks so very different to last years January.
However, there are always enough constants in nature to reassure us. Today we found…
The first ‘Snowdrop’ of January pushing through. I see a poor uncovered bulb sprouting in the background too. How did that happen to be uncovered I wonder?
The Daffodils are pushing through right on cue!
Bare branches all around
An acorn from a large oak tree beginning to germinate. We have brought it home and popped it into a small pot. The hope is that we can watch this new little tree start off it’s life before we find a nice ‘forever’ home for it in the garden.
Dried up seed heads. I just love this ‘Teasel Winterscape’ 🙂
Nature is also in the habit of throwing us a few surprises along the way too. today we spotted a Blackberry bramble with flower buds! Whaaaat? REALLY? I paid close attention to other brambles along our walk but found no other flower buds. Clearly this bramble is confused LOL.
We also noticed this little Wild Strawberry plant (at least I think that’s what it is. Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong) hiding it’s delicate little flowers under leaf.
The Primroses are in bloom too and looking lovely. Just what it needed in January.
And then we have something indicative of this particular winter…
Flooded walkways and very squishy mud EVERYWHERE! What I have pictured here is not a usually a stream BTW. As the eye leads away from the foreground, all that is usually just undergrowth. To the right and left of the shot is a regular walkway. It is so muddy and slippery that I nearly landed on my rear (which sent the girls into fits of laughter! Nice!) just before arriving at this spot LOL. Fortunately for me I have quite good balance and managed a sort of skiing move and thus saved face.
Once home and cleaned up after our rather muddy and wet (yip – that approaching cloud in the first picture caught us), I read January’s excerpt from ‘The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady’. Interestingly, in 1906 Edith Holden describes a ‘mild winter’ and twice mentions gale-force winds! She is pretty much describing our current winter 🙂
I have two more little pictures from our walk to share with you, just because they delighted me. The first was this little cottage’s wall…
The contrasting berries just make for such a pretty sight. I think I am going to plan a few against the front walls of my house and train them just like this 🙂
and then this…
a rather nosy (on my part) peek at the veggie patch of someone’s garden. I can just picture Peter Rabbit having a feast here in Summer. The last time I took a nosy shot of this garden through the hedge was in May last year…
See all the tomato plants along the growing tunnel there? It is certainly looking like it is fast asleep at the moment, but I am sure that come spring this gardens owner will be pottering about sewing a new Summer crop. The thought makes me feel all inspired about my own garden 🙂