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Jo's News and Views No 1 January 2023

Hello Everyone

Welcome to 2023. With more minus temperatures and hard frosts, it is a wonder that anything in the garden has survived. However, Nature is wonderful in that respect and there is always something out there to delight us.

For me it was the charming cyclamen that I found basking in some unexpected sunshine, such a treat, photo 1. Closely followed by this clump of snowdrops, photo 2. There were not many around at the beginning of the month so I was happy to find them.

On a crisp morning with sunshine just managing to push through the clouds, the colour on the Pond Terrace looked lovely, photo 3. On the path down to the Rock Garden is the majestic Metasequoia glyptostroboides, a Dawn Redwood, photo 4. The colour of the branches at this time of year is quite stunning.

Because of the harsh weather the fountain in the pond had been switched off so there were some wonderful reflections in the still surface of the pond. These were the views across the pond from the New River Lawn, photos 5, 6 and 7. Then walking around the pond another view, this time towards the Pond Terrace, photo 8.

Further along the lawn is the Winter Bed. The Betula pendula, or Silver birch, always catches the sunshine on its beautiful white branches, set off by the fiery stems of the Cornus sanguinea, dogwood, behind it, photo 9. Another view of this includes the Rose Garden and the Market Cross, photo 10.

As there was so much frost through January it seems right to include a few photos highlighting this, photos 11, 12 and 13. The sunflowers in the Kitchen Garden made a wonderful sight with their drooping heads bowed under the weight of the frost, photo 14. The gloom did not last for long as there were also flowers around to brighten the day. The autumn snowdrops were showing at last having been covered in snow and frost for quite a while, photo 15. This teasel hadn't dropped all of its seeds so they were sprouting in situ, photo 16. There were also the buds covering the magnolia tree in the Rose Garden to assure us that Spring is just around the corner, photo 17.

For my fauna selection this month I was quite fortunate in spotting a few birds on my visits. In the Oak tree in the car park was this lovely Nuthatch, photo 18. It was very busy running up and down the trunk looking for bugs. High up in amongst the mistletoe on the Lime tree at the top of the drive was this Mistle Thrush, photo 19. Then on two separate days I saw Jays in the garden. Different trees but whether they were different birds I couldn't say, photos 20 and 21. Finally a very black bird, a Crow, photo 22. Sat on the fence watching the junior boys practice their footballing skills next door on the Spurs training ground.

I hope you have enjoyed this wander around the garden with me.

Best Wishes

Jo



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