It is one of those sudden joys. You can be staring out at a bleak winter garden, all dormant stems and leafless, when whoosh – like darts of light – the gloom is fragmented by a little host of twittering, darting long-tailed tits. Their dashing habit of course makes them hard to photograph, and their livery – all the colours of a winter landscape – adds to the general elusiveness. They are tiny too. And they rarely stay for more than a few moments before taking off again on the great insect hunt. When they have gone, the garden is bereft, but you are left with the feeling that someone just gave you a perfect small gift. You can conjure it again at any time, in your mind’s eye, that moment when a flock of tiny beings flew in and lit up the day.
Long-tailed tit Go here to find out more about them and for far better images than I managed here.
copyright 2018 Tish Farrell
It looks pretty dreary on the plots, and these days the only person I see at the allotment is an elderly man who likes to walk his dog around the perimeter path. But there’s still stuff to harvest – parsnips, carrots, leeks, kale, perpetual spinach, Swiss chard, purple sprouting, and in the polytunnel lettuce and various Chinese mustards. There are also 8 compost heaps to turn or add to, and now is the season for collecting leaves to make leaf mould. I’ve filled three new bins with leaves from the wood, and last autumn’s caches are beginning to rot down nicely; I’m hoping they’ll be ready for spring sowing. So despite these gloomy looks – all is filled with new possibilities.
Show us your hellebores, said Jo at Restless Jo – this in a chat about Jo’s last week’s hellebore post which she linked to Jude’s new Winter Garden photo challenge. And so thinking to oblige, and in between sleet and rain, sleet and rain, and more rain and rain, I dashed out into the garden with the digital camera only to find the currently flowering hellebores in most reclusive mood. They all had their heads determinedly earthwards as in the next photo:
And so the only way to capture the first two shots was for me to stand on my head, and send the camera underneath on macro setting, and press. The whole enterprise was totally discomposed, and what’s more, it had started raining AGAIN. But then that’s winter in the garden for you. Anyway, despite shooting blind I’m quite pleased with results – sort of candid-camera shots of shrinking violets hellebores.
For more bloggers’ winter gardens please visit Jude over at The Earth Laughs In Flowers blog.