Archive for December, 2007

22
Dec
07

Ice Blooms

After an extremely dull December (I cannot remember seeing the sun even once), today was the first bright day of the month, if not for the sky, then at least for the frost: after a cold and foggy night everything was coated in delicate ice crystals. You could watch them grow during the day until they turned into long pointed needles. Of course everything will be gone as soon as there is a little wind, so here are my pictures in which this rare phenomenon is “frozen”.

First of all an overall view that gives you an impression of this strange foggy weather that is starting to cause a feeling of being locked in.

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At the same time all the cobwebs around the house are highlighted.

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This is the same rose (a rambler) first in the morning and then in the afternoon.

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And finally some frosted blooms — this frost will mean the end of them, but is there anything more beautiful? Both life and death in one image.

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15
Dec
07

Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day December

Happily joining in the traditon Carol at May Dreams Garden started, here come my flowers — or what’s left of them. It’s been a strange December; so far we’ve had hardly any frost. The chrysanthemums and the calendula that I presented here last month still look pretty much the same. Well, not quite. There is a certain shabbyness around the leaves, so as soon as I find the time, I will cut them off. Still, even though it has been dark and dreary outside, the garden doesn’t look it. If you see this lavender, you wouldn’t volunteer that the picture was taken only yesterday.

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Because of these warmish conditions some spring flowers have already started blooming, such as these primroses and also a few violets. But they don’t look too fresh because of the damp weather and the slugs who seem to be quite happy about these unusual delicacies at this time of the year.

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This winter jasmin, however, has found the right time to open its bright yellow flowers. Four years ago I was given two kindles by a friend, and this is the first year that they really play their part. If they go on like this, much of this wall will be covered with little yellow dots within a few years from December to February.

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What I’m really looking forward to are the blossoms of helleborus niger. Their name being “Christrose” in German, they might just make it for Christmas this year. Along with their cousin helleborus orientalis, which flowers in spring but is much more colourful, they are one of my favourites. They keep long in vases and make pretty little boucqets (together with ivy) at a time in which the garden is virtually empty. However, helleborus is one of those plants that don’t transplant well. It’s not that they don’t survive moving, but they’ll snub you for one or more seasons. So it’s best to make a careful choice in the first place — so as not to have to wait too long for the blooms.

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09
Dec
07

Late Fall Sunset

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09
Dec
07

Water World

The rain has finally stopped. We even got some glimpses of blue sky and sun today. In the news it said that we’ve had as much rain within two days as we usually would have had in the whole month of December. As a result everything is soaked. If you dare walk accross the lawn, for example to bring out the compost, you had better wear Wellingtons if you don’t want to ruin your shoes. Even so, the ground makes fairly strange noises when you walk on it, as if someone was trying to make contact from underground. Really creepy.
I don’t know what this soaking does to all those little creatures who live in the soil. They are probably used to it and will survive. Of what I’m certain is that all those baby slugs are still nasses-feld.jpgalive that have been nibbling away happily at my winter peas. (Unfortunately I brought them out a week too late, so when spring comes there will be hardly anything left.)

Although it looked quite spectacular yesterday, one day without rain helps the soil quite a bit to recover: the big pool on the neighbouring field has diminished by half during the day, so if the same happens in my garden there is some hope that my compost heap will be more easily accessible in the next days.

06
Dec
07

Where is the Snow?

Except for a few days November, and particularly the first part of December, has been very mild. Mild weather at this time of the year, that also means clouds and fog and rain — and gales. Adding the fact that it turns dark at 4.30pm I can’t help myself from feeling locked in. After work it means a great effort even to take the dog for a walk let alone do some work around the garden. (There is still a big heap of flat stones that I have collected at the beach to lay out my paths with.)
On top of this gloomy weather there has been a dreadful case of child murder in a neighbouring village where a mentally deranged mother killed all her five sons only yesterday. Usually catastrophes like this happen somewhere far off, but not in our peaceful little area. So everybody here is virtually under shock. The media have overrun the poor people in the village trying to get at whatever unimportant comment any of them could make. And on TV you see the same reporters lamenting about the hype that is being created around this sorry case — talking about hypocrisy here.
There is nothing to make this undone, and I wonder if ever any seasonal feelings will come up this year, however, some cold, frosty weather would help to clear our minds. This unnerving rain is the best friend of depression.