Sunset, bees in December, sunrise

DSCN8698DSCN8718 DSCN8706 DSCN8708Truly there are bees (look harder), but my photography is a bit challenged.

A couple of mornings ago, I was making our pre-getting up pot of tea, when my husband called out ‘look out of the window!’. I did, tied my dressing gown, then grabbed a camera and went out of the back door for this shot – facing East.DSCN8711 Then, devoutly hoping the paper boy would not appear at that moment, I went out of the front door for this gentler western one.DSCN8715 Today I saw that the iris stylosa (or unguicularis), are going for broke. Winter?DSCN8716_2

Nasturtiums and winter jasmine – surely not.

The garden is happy but perhaps confused. I wanted to bring in some flowers the other day and found this charming combination of nasturtiums and winter jasmine. I also found some late blooms on the centaurea and and yet the hydrangeas have their autumn seed heads.


We still have cistus in bloom and below them autumn crocus are merrily flowering.DSCN6718DSCN6729

Then we have the winter iris stylosa – I usually start looking for a few flowers on this in mid-December and sometimes find blooms for the Christmas table and then throughout January and February. They are already blooming in three separate sites in the garden.


And late blooms have appeared on the  summer-flowering non-clinging clematis Durandii.


A few feet away a primrose is feeling the air, while between these two Rosa Papa Meilland is throwing up yet another bloom.

DSCN6726DSCN6688Raspberries are still fruiting – they are autumn raspberries, but they are usually long gone before November. DSCN6737 This is looking like autumn. DSCN6656DSCN6710…but what are the runner beans doing flowering at this time of year, and why can I hear the buzz of lawn mowers even as I write? And how come we had lunch in the garden in the UK on November 1st?

At least my general failure in the greenhouse has been redeemed by the late hot spell, and my magnificent sweet pepper is finally turning red. DSCN6751

Global warming?

Just a couple of pictures from last week.

Here in the East of England we have only had the tail end of the freakish high winds, tides and rain that have battered the West coasts of Britain and Ireland. This is one of the storms about to roll over us. The little river in our village is pretty full. DSCN4597

On the other side of the Atlantic, from where these storms are coming, our daughter was stranded by ice and snow for 24 hours in JFK airport.

In our garden we have some Iris stylosa. These charming flowers, which I took from my parent’s garden in Somerset many, many years ago, usually flower in ones, twos or even threes from December through to March. I have never, ever seen so many out at once. 

Iris stylosa

Iris stylosa

Two days after I took this picture, I was able to cut another half-dozen opening buds and there are many more coming through. Whether this is the outcome of the hot summer or the mild winter is uncertain. Either way our small corner of the world is warmer than it has been so far in my lifetime.

Enthusiastic Azalea, early Iris

I have a faithful azalea, given to me six years ago and rarely without a flower. It has a long summer holiday in the garden and comes in for the winter. I brought it in about three weeks ago and saw that it had no flowers, and thought, never mind perhaps it just needs a  season of rest. A few days later I was cheered to see some buds showing pink and now…

DSCN4561 - Version 2

Another faithful winter companion is the Iris stylosa my mother gave me so many years ago. Once this starts, there is always at least one open flower all through the winter. I know I will be able to go out on Christmas day and bring in a fresh bloom.