Blooming January

Hamamelis x intermedia 'Robert' 003 Wm


Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Robert’


I did wonder how easy it was going to be this month. This time last year things seemed more advanced.

In 2013, my most established clump of Hellebore was fully out in bloom:


Hellebore Wm


This week the same clump had only buds on show:


Hellebore 011 Wm


So why is this I wonder?

Maybe the seasons are still lagging behind after last year’s cold Spring. Or does Mother Nature know that winter has yet more up her sleeve and blooms are lying low? Perhaps it’s just that last year was exceptionally mild.


Wild Primrose 002 Wm


Primula vulgaris. Wild primroses.

Little bits of colour are starting to appear.


Pulmonaria 003 Wm


The very first of the Pulmonaria blooms


Galanthus nivalis 005 Wm


Galanthus nivalis

And deep within the woodland the wonderful sight of snowdrops. I had snowdrops in the garden borders too but Ptolemy (bless him) ate all the flowers. I’ve seen him on the prowl. Checking each clump for optimum maturity with little nudges of his beak. Then, as soon as the blooms begin to open.. one swift peck and they are gone.


Erica 003 Wm


Erica (inherited, variety unknown)


Cyclamen coum 001 Wm


Cyclamen coum

The Cyclamen are an addition to the garden this month. I want to start a small drift of them alongside the steps leading down to the house.


And then, while were out buying bird food, my bargain hunting antennae started to twitch.

It’s small.. it has definitely taken some knocks.. but..


Hamamelis x intermedia 'Diane' 001 Wm


Hamamelis x intermedia ‘Diane’


A witch hazel at about a third of the usual price?

Give it a couple of years TLC and it’ll be as right as rain.


Linking to Carol and Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day at May Dreams Gardens, where you will find other January bloomers from around the world.


2018-02-28T17:51:01+00:00January 15th, 2014|Tags: , |


  1. Pauline January 15, 2014 at 8:57 am - Reply

    What a bargain you got in H. Diane, I’m sure it will love growing in your garden. Our pheasant is making his presence known, he’d better not try attacking my snowdrops or there will be all out war!

    • Jessica January 15, 2014 at 5:48 pm - Reply

      It’s barmy, he’ll leave the snowdrops alone in the woodland but attacks them in the borders. It’s because the bird table is there I expect. He needs something to keep him occupied while he waits for bits of nut to drop from on high.

  2. Abby January 15, 2014 at 10:17 am - Reply

    I hadn’t thought our snowdrops were out yet, but reading your post I went and had another look – one out! Hurrah! Love snowdrops. I’ve one purple and one cream hellebore out too. Mr VTT bought me a Viburnum bodnantense (Charles Lamont) for Christmas – only a few flowers, but lovely.

    • Jessica January 15, 2014 at 5:51 pm - Reply

      Your Viburnum does sound lovely, I do need more fragrant winter shrubs here. I love it when the days start to get longer and flowers reappear.

  3. ournewlifeinthecountry January 15, 2014 at 10:58 am - Reply

    I need to look out for Snowdrops here, we’ve been told there is a wonderful mass of them just where we are proposing to widen our driveway, once they are past their best I want to re-locate them to somewhere that they can be happy (and make us happy) in future.

    They are wonderful little flowers they fill me full of hope for Spring and warmer weather.

    • Jessica January 15, 2014 at 5:55 pm - Reply

      They have the same effect on me. It’ll be fascinating to see what else comes up in your new garden as we get into Spring.

  4. Chloris January 15, 2014 at 11:43 am - Reply

    I haven’t come across Hamamelis ‘Robert’ before. It’s lovely. Well done for finding a cut price ‘Diane’. You just can’t have too many witch hazels. I’m surprised to see Galanthus nivalis coming out. I have quite a few snowdrops out but they are all Elwesii hybrids. How lovely to see Primroses and Pulmonaria out. It’s nearly spring. Yippee!

    • Jessica January 15, 2014 at 5:59 pm - Reply

      It does feel quite Spring like on sunny days now, or perhaps that’s just our wishful thinking!

  5. haggiz January 15, 2014 at 11:51 am - Reply

    Oh what a lovely post, it almost feels like Spring is on it’s way … sigh xx

    • Jessica January 15, 2014 at 6:00 pm - Reply

      I know, but a bit more winter before we get there I fear.

  6. Bernieh January 15, 2014 at 12:49 pm - Reply

    Mother Nature does keep us all on our toes, doesn’t she? We never quite know what to expect. That of course makes gardening such an interesting passion. I loved all your little bits of colour. I particularly loved the colour of that Witch Hazel ‘Robert’, and those lovely white Heather flowers.

    • Jessica January 15, 2014 at 6:31 pm - Reply

      Hi Bernie and welcome to rusty duck.
      She certainly does. The weather the world over is becoming a lot less predictable. I love witch hazels, they look too exotic to be flowering in England in January! The orangey/red ones are my favourite.

  7. andreamynard January 15, 2014 at 1:10 pm - Reply

    Very uplifting seeing your lovely blooms. I thought it had been mild here but your snowdrops are definitely ahead of ours. Definitely time to get ordering seeds and dreaming of summer colour!

    • Jessica January 15, 2014 at 6:35 pm - Reply

      Seed ordering is always next on my list, it really is time I got down to it! The snowdrops are patchy as yet, I found this little clump in the sunniest part of the woodland. When they all come out it will be a picture.

  8. Lea January 15, 2014 at 1:55 pm - Reply

    Happy Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day!

    • Jessica January 15, 2014 at 6:43 pm - Reply

      Thank you Lea and welcome to rusty duck!

  9. Christina January 15, 2014 at 2:34 pm - Reply

    ‘Diane’ looks very fine and if it was a bargain – even better! You have a nice show of winter bloomers, lovely.

    • Jessica January 15, 2014 at 6:48 pm - Reply

      I love witch hazels but they are pricey. If I can get this one to establish I’ll be dead chuffed.

  10. Nell Jean January 15, 2014 at 3:18 pm - Reply

    Maybe this will be the year I start Cyclamen. Happy Bloom Day.

    • Jessica January 15, 2014 at 7:03 pm - Reply

      Hi Jean and welcome to rusty duck!
      Cyclamen look great in drifts under trees. I hope that my three little pots will spread and seed themselves to form good strong clumps.

  11. Amy at love made my home January 15, 2014 at 3:27 pm - Reply

    The witch hazel (cheating, can’t spell hmmldmaskdjf!!!) is glorious and will be a lovely addition to your garden. Can’t believe that your pulmonaria is out already, lovely to see it blooming. Ptolemy is going to find himself in big trouble if he keeps on like that!! xx

    • Jessica January 15, 2014 at 7:06 pm - Reply

      It’s difficult to know what to do about the pheasants, two of them at the moment. It’s so nice to have them around but they are destructive. They are attracted by the droppings from the bird table but I don’t want to lose that either! This year will be an experiment in trying to find flowers that Ptolemy doesn’t like to eat!

  12. frayed at the edge January 15, 2014 at 4:06 pm - Reply

    I still think you need to threaten Ptolemy with the pie dish!! Lovely to see your snowdrops – for some reason they won’t grow in our garden – so it’s time to head to the garden centre for some in a pot. There was a slight interruption to typing this, as some longtailed tits swooped in to the peanut feeder – only the second time that I have seen them in the garden! The laptop was promptly abandoned for the camera!

    • Jessica January 15, 2014 at 7:08 pm - Reply

      Look forward to seeing your LTT pics, I haven’t seen them here yet this winter. They only seem to appear when it is very cold.

  13. Cathy January 15, 2014 at 5:07 pm - Reply

    Oooh – I have not come across Robert before either. He seems to have an almost coral tint to him. I moved my small Diane from the woodland last year where she had been on the point of death and she has recovered but is slow to flower, so she wasn’t included in my GBBD. Other than H niger none of my hellebores are out yet although some are in bud – lovely to see yours though, and that pulmonaria too (the speck of white on my P Sissinghurst White’ was a pleasant surprise for me today). Snowdrops under attack?! Grrrr 🙁

    • Jessica January 15, 2014 at 7:24 pm - Reply

      I got Robert last year at RHS Rosemoor, where I saw him planted in the garden and fell in love. There is a definite coral tinge.

  14. Sue@GLAllotments January 15, 2014 at 5:48 pm - Reply

    The witch hazel was a good spot. I like the pale flowered cyclamen coum – mine are all the pink on. They were grown from seed – were yours?

    • Jessica January 15, 2014 at 7:28 pm - Reply

      These three pots were purchased to start me off, I’m hoping they will seed themselves from now on. But it would be tempting to try and collect seed so that I can colonise other parts of the garden too.

  15. snowbird January 15, 2014 at 7:19 pm - Reply

    Oooooh….Witch Hazel…a magnificent addition. You have all sorts growing, I’m a trifle gree eyed! What a naught pheasant….I love snowdrops and would be sobbing to see them eated….still a boy has to live eh….lovely

    • Jessica January 15, 2014 at 7:35 pm - Reply

      Naughty is one word for it. Mike has had the recipe book out for less…

  16. Sarah January 15, 2014 at 7:27 pm - Reply

    You look to be slightly more advanced than here in Dorset. Your witch hazel is so lovely.
    Sarah x

    • Jessica January 15, 2014 at 7:42 pm - Reply

      Thanks Sarah. It feels like there is less in bloom here than this time last year, but there are plenty of buds so hopefully it won’t be long before the garden starts to look more cheerful. I love witch hazel, just wish they grew a bit quicker!

  17. Denise January 15, 2014 at 7:42 pm - Reply

    Loving the pulmonaria – happy memories of my Gran’s cottage garden. Ptolemy is a VERY bad bird!

    • Jessica January 15, 2014 at 7:44 pm - Reply

      You tell him Denise… he doesn’t listen to me. Or at least, he puts his head up for a second (flower in beak) and then carries on chomping.

  18. Wendy January 15, 2014 at 8:39 pm - Reply

    I’d forgotten about this time last year in the garden, all I remember is that long, cold spring. And I didn’t realise Pheasants had a taste for snowdrops; fortunately I still suspect that the geese are keeping any here at bay (although I don’t completely trust them, either!) The fiery witch hazel is beautiful.

    • Jessica January 15, 2014 at 9:27 pm - Reply

      Pheasants have a taste for hellebores as well, unfortunately. Although I think if (when) I have geese they will get away with anything!

  19. Simone January 15, 2014 at 8:41 pm - Reply

    Beautiful Blooms. I think the winter is yet to arrive. Last year it snowed on my birthday as late as 24th March. Let’s hope it arrives and exits much quicker this year!

    • Jessica January 15, 2014 at 9:35 pm - Reply

      I think you’re right. We’ve had it too easy so far.

  20. Suzanne Dutchess County, NY, USA January 15, 2014 at 9:02 pm - Reply

    Oh lucky you to be in such a climate! Blooms in winter!
    Lovely witch hazels ! Any fragrance? Our native has a slight fragrance when close up. I look forward to those bright early blooms. Has the weather there dried up some?

    • Jessica January 15, 2014 at 9:40 pm - Reply

      I would describe these as exactly the same. You have to get really close to pick up any scent. But then, my sense of smell is not brilliant. The weather has dried up a bit. We are still getting rain most days, but it’s not the torrential sort of recent weeks. I hope you guys are getting warmer!

  21. CJ January 15, 2014 at 9:17 pm - Reply

    Stunning photos, as always Jessica. The witch hazel is a great find, lucky you. And how lovely to see a snowdrop. There’s always lots of beauty to see in your garden.

    • Jessica January 15, 2014 at 9:43 pm - Reply

      Thanks CJ. I had to dig around a bit to find bloomers this month.

  22. wherethejourneytakesme January 15, 2014 at 11:06 pm - Reply

    There is a garden somewhere in Shropshire that opens in January where they have a fabulous collection of Witch Hazels. Your pictures capture them perfectly.

    • Jessica January 16, 2014 at 11:59 am - Reply

      Thanks Viv. RHS Rosemoor down here has some lovely ones too.. due a visit I think!

  23. Helene January 16, 2014 at 12:20 am - Reply

    Beautiful photos! Every year at this time I see photos of witch hazel and I so want one, then I remember why I haven’t bought one already: Mature size height 3m, width 3m! I really haven’t got room for such a monster in my garden, even though they are really beautiful at this time of year.
    I have also noticed different plants starting to flower at different times every year, despite have similar conditions. Hope you have a great week, happy GBBD!

    • Jessica January 16, 2014 at 12:01 pm - Reply

      They do grow large, but quite slowly. At least that is what I am hoping! Thanks Helene.

  24. Casa Mariposa January 16, 2014 at 2:50 am - Reply

    We still have a lot of winter waiting for us here on the east coast of the US. 99% of my garden is a dormant brown blob of blah frosted with a scoop of ick. But I would have wanted the sale rack witch hazel, too. Rumor has it she’s quite the good witch. 🙂

    • Jessica January 16, 2014 at 12:36 pm - Reply

      Hi Tammy and welcome to rusty duck.
      I fear my garden is very much the same. At this time of year close up photography is the only way to go!

  25. Dorothy January 16, 2014 at 6:57 am - Reply

    I really like the Witch Hazels. Such unusual looking plants. I don’t think they grow in my climate but I enjoy seeing the photos in other gardens. I’m glad to see that your Snowdrops are up. I know spring is on the way when the Snowflakes are up in my garden. Happy Bloom Day!

    • Jessica January 16, 2014 at 12:44 pm - Reply

      Well now that I have two witch hazels we’ll see how they do. I hope they can cope with our wet. The snowdrops are starting to flower and at times it does feel very springlike, winter can still go either way though. I think I’m kidding myself really!

  26. Em January 16, 2014 at 11:23 am - Reply

    I do love Cyclamen and it MIGHT grow here I suppose. I’m loath to spend the money and have them fail like everything else! My Hellebores haven’t even started poking their heads up yet. have I already commented on this post? I’m getting so confused as I actually read it when you posted. Sigh. x

    • Jessica January 16, 2014 at 12:48 pm - Reply

      They do best in part shade, so you could be OK. If you can find somewhere that doesn’t get too wet. I checked on the RHS website, after I bought them, and discovered that squirrels and mice can be a problem. Doh.
      No duplicate comment 🙂

  27. countrysidetales January 16, 2014 at 1:24 pm - Reply

    Love the comparison shot- how interesting. Time will tell on the weather score but I wonder if the storms had anything to do with it?

    • Jessica January 16, 2014 at 1:42 pm - Reply

      You could be right. It’s been so very grey and miserable, with very little sun.

  28. Jayne Hill January 16, 2014 at 6:15 pm - Reply

    At the opposite end of the country from bag End, it is interesting to see how advanced your plants are compared to ours. Excellent photos and a lovely glimpse of the season to come :}

    • Jessica January 16, 2014 at 11:02 pm - Reply

      The sight of flowers is so very cheering, easy to forget there are still at least six weeks of winter left.

  29. Anna January 16, 2014 at 7:50 pm - Reply

    ‘Robert’ looks most attractive Jessica. Is he highly scented? Despite the mild winter things here in the north west seem much on a par with last winter but definitely behind 2012. This is where GBBD is a most useful memory keeper 🙂

    • Jessica January 16, 2014 at 11:07 pm - Reply

      He is very attractive, but you have to get close to him to pick up any scent. It always disappoints me that witch hazels do not send wafts of fragrance everywhere as often billed… perhaps it’s just that mine are still very small.

  30. welshhillsagain January 16, 2014 at 11:05 pm - Reply

    How similar our tastes are. I have all of these and much experience of trying to establish cyclamen. After three years suddenly one clump is away. Many have turned up their toes. I really hope this one will do it. And love, love your new witch hazel. What a wonderful colour.

    • Jessica January 16, 2014 at 11:19 pm - Reply

      Hi Elizabeth. I dug up a clump of cyclamen and brought them with me to here, but they’ve never done well. This lot is therefore my second attempt. I’m going to try them in dry shade this time, but it sounds like a bit of perseverance is going to be required!

  31. Linda January 17, 2014 at 3:34 am - Reply

    Well…….what I say is……Blooming Beautiful!
    I will not see any Primula or Pulmonaria for at LEAST 4 months!
    Do you feel sorry for me?
    This winter has been brutal so far….thoroughly enjoying your spring sprouts!
    Enjoy the rest of your week….
    Linda :o)

    • Jessica January 17, 2014 at 9:22 am - Reply

      We may not be out of the snowy woods yet. But for you… maybe in Florida? 🙂

  32. SeagullSuzie January 17, 2014 at 5:56 pm - Reply

    It’s lovely to see signs of winter flowers and have a pretty primula just come into flower. Thanks for the plant tour.

    • Jessica January 17, 2014 at 6:29 pm - Reply

      They are a cheerful sight aren’t they. Signs of things sprouting in the greenhouse now too. Won’t be long..

  33. BadPenny January 18, 2014 at 9:40 am - Reply

    I’m surprised that any plant wants to peep its head out in this awful weather but my tete a tete’s are peeking out !

    • Jessica January 18, 2014 at 10:01 am - Reply

      It’s dreadful here too today… no sign of mine!

  34. Linda January 18, 2014 at 1:01 pm - Reply

    Another damp and dreary day today up here in S. Yorkshire and nothing new happening in our garden except for a few flowering snowdrops and polyanthus in the borders. I do like to see plants in their woodland setting so I can just imagine yours. It will be lovely for you to have swathes of cyclamen around the house, too, and your witch hazel is a beauty – a gorgeous colour.

    • Jessica January 18, 2014 at 1:41 pm - Reply

      Thanks Linda. As yet the woodland is very undeveloped, but I am working towards a thriving woodland garden. It’s good to see snowdrops coming up in areas that I cleared last year, it must have looked wonderful before it all became overgrown!

  35. Laura January 21, 2014 at 4:40 am - Reply

    Pulmonaria in January and cyclamen grown outside?!? Well…I’ve got something in my garden that you don’t…snowdrifts over a metre high!

    • Jessica January 21, 2014 at 9:52 am - Reply

      Well at least you can’t see the weeds…? 😉

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