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Jo's News and Views No 1 January 2022

Hello Everyone

Welcome to 2022, I cannot imagine what's in store for us this year so without further ado I will turn my attention to the garden. The one constant in our lives that never disappoints us. The weather has been a mixed bag through January but on the days that the sun shone I made sure that I found my way to Myddelton House.

At the top of the drive is a tree that I have not mentioned before. The Gleditsia triacanthos, known as the Honey Locust tree, photo 1. When it's covered in leaves it doesn't really stand out but the fruit on the tree is amazing. The fruit is a flat pod that matures in early autumn. They are fairly soft and green when young then harden and turn dark red as they mature, photos 2 and 3. I think they look like socks on a washing line flapping in the wind. Opposite on the Front Lawn is the Cedar tree and the Prunus serrula, photo 4. When the sunshine catches the peeling bark it looks as though flames are flickering through the branches, photo 5.

It is snowdrop time in the garden and they are starting to appear everywhere, photo 6. They seem to be a little slow to show this year so I am sure I will have more photos of them next month. Nearby on the edge of the Hollow Lawn is this small tree, photo 7. It is a Chimonanthus praecox, known as Wintersweet or Japanese allspice. Quite understated but the beauty is in the scent of the flowers which appear through January and February and look as though they are just dripping from the branches, photos 8 and 9. Along the border in this area the Eranthis hyemalis or Winter Aconites have started to flower, photo 10. They are one of the earliest bulbs to bloom in Spring along with the snowdrops and are a very welcome sight.

Nearby in the Asylum I noticed these shrubs, photo 11. Probably dismissed by many visitors as just another green bush but on closer inspection you can see that the Ruscus aculeatus, known as Butcher's broom, is smothered with berries, photo 12 and behind it is the Ilex aquifolium 'Ferox Argentea' or Hedgehog Holly, photo 13. The name comes from the fact that the leaves not only have spines along the edges of the leaves but on the surface too. An excellent choice for the Asylum.

Along the front of the Peach House the Autumn flowering snowdrops have decided to put on a show for us at last, photo 14. This little beauty is Galanthus 'Emma Thick', photo 15.

Moving on to the Glasshouses I was welcomed by a wonderful display, photo 16. Next door the Beaucarnea recurvata, known as Elephants Foot, seen on the left of this photo is still guarding the Hardenbergia violacea, or Vine-Lilac, which is growing up the wall, photo 17. A plant that has a subtle beauty about it.

Leaving the Kitchen Garden I walked towards the pond. There the Hamamelis x intermedia, Witch Hazel 'Diane', was in flower, photo 19. I love the flowers on this shrub. They looked like red ribbons fluttering in the breeze, photo 20. On this particular day the stillness of the water at this end of the pond captured the reflections of the Pond Terrace perfectly, photo 21.

Leaving the Pond I made my way to the Rose Garden. Here the Market Cross was looking splendid in the afternoon sunshine, photo 22. Climbing up the side is Rosa bracteata. Mr Bowles wrote about this rose twice in his books saying .... "R. bracteata, which, if only it were a shade hardier and began to flower earlier in the season, would be the finest of white roses. As it is, I love it dearly, and it grows on one of the four buttresses, or whatever is the right name for the legs of the old Market Cross .....". I feel we are very privileged that it continues to thrive today. I will keep an eye on it and feature the flowers when they arrive.

Also here is the Tetrapanax papyrifer, known as the Chinese Rice Paper plant, photos 23 and 24. This tree is native to Taiwan but is very happy here in this sheltered, sunny spot in the Rose Garden.

So onto the fauna selection for this month. There were a pair of Mallards swimming on the Pond earlier in the month, photo 25. Perhaps Dilly and Daffy are thinking of setting up home on the improved pond? The highlight of the month was a pair of Mistle Thrushes, photos 26 and 27. These delightful birds seem very happy in the garden. Then finally our perennial favourite the Robin, photo 28. I could hear him singing for ages but it took me a while to find him. Well worth the search.

I hope you have enjoyed this wander through the gardens with me.

Best Wishes and Stay Safe.



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