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A slow start to the New Year

Late January, the weather has been dull and mostly cold this month. My greenhouse doors stayed closed and my frost fleece remained in place for most of the month, although in the last couple of days it has warmed up a little.

It is a rather dormant period in my garden. My young crab apple tree continues to cheer up a border with its pretty red fruit, yellow mahonia and white fatsia flowers have come and gone and my winter flowering heather is thriving at the far end of the garden. My orange hamamaelis (witch hazel) has bloomed well this year but the plants are still small so they don't make much impact. Winter berries have all been eaten by the birds now and there is little sign of new life apart from a handful of early primroses. At this time of year I'm largely reliant on colourful foliage to bring interest to my borders, but it's a large garden and I really need to increase their number.

I have spent most of the month staying warm indoors, largely due to wrist surgery which made gardening a "no no" for most of the month, but I did try out my new camera. In particular I'm trying to get to grips with close up photography, the camera doesn't have a "macro" mode but there are settings and techniques I can use to get a similar effect. It takes a bit of manual dexterity which was difficult with my wrist bound up so the results are variable but I'm hoping to improve:

Above left to right and top to bottom: mahonia, winter heather, hellebores just starting to bud, berberis darwinii, hamamaelis 'Orange Beauty', crab apple 'Jelly King', primroses, nandina 'Firepower', hebe 'Silver Anniversary', a lemon in my greenhouse, fallen fruit from a japanese quince (Chaenomeles), coprosma repens 'Pacific Night' with Rrbus cockburnianus 'Goldenvale' behind it



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