After what seems like months of dull, grey weather, the sun came out yesterday and I ventured out into the garden for the first time this year. In winter I always expect the garden to be fully dormant but actually, you don’t have to look too hard to find signs of life.

The other day I glanced out of the window and noticed something pink in amongst all the grey. Amazing how this tiny speck of colour pops out from the background – you can even see it from the top floor window. This is my rambling rose Super Fairy which is ignoring the fact it is January, bravely producing two fat buds which are now about to open. Such a welcome surprise and a taste of things to come.

Here is something rather gorgeous that I inherited from the previous owners of our house. A Camellia. Whilst I am grateful for some of the structures they put into the garden, hardly any of their plants have stayed. But this beauty isn’t going anywhere. Right now it is full of juicy buds and I am expecting the first blooms in about a month. Later on in the year I will have to move this plant to make room for a new path leading to the kitchen garden. This is quite a scary prospect, I love it so much and would be very sad to loose it. If anyone has advice on how to transplant a mature Camellia, please share.

If you are a rose lover like me, this is the most exciting thing of all. Strong new shoots on all the shrubs. I can’t tell you how happy this sight makes me, it is as though the vigorous energy of those bare spindly plants is contagious – makes me feel fresh and hopeful and I dare to think that we will have flowers and beauty in the garden this year too. Also, it reminds me that it is time to get on with pruning the roses. The best time to do this in the UK is between late January and the beginning of February, before they have put on too much new growth. I think I will make it my job for the next few weekends, as long as the weather is ok. And just like that, the season has started. Exciting stuff.

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