Hurrah for some sunshine. Several bright, crisp, clear days this week with blue skies and sunshine. Saw the kingfisher again down at the mouth of the river, sitting on the breakwater. I can’t believe they dive into sea water, but I don’t know… It was pretty cold down there with a sharp easterly wind blowing, I was glad of a hat and a hood! Even most of the gulls had moved inland, but our little winter resident flock of turnstones were on the ramp down to the beach – about thirty of them, racing up and down, their legs a blur against the pebbles. I’m very fond of them and love to see them scurrying around. If they’re nervous and they lift and fly, it’s only ever a few metres onto the breakwater, but it’s a chance to the white markings on the wing and tail that show up so well in flight.
Later in the week the wind dropped and the sea was glassy smooth under a pale blue winter sky. The sun made a silvery pathway from the horizon to the beach, so bright we had to turn our eyes away. There was warmth in the sun too, and we sat on an Esplanade bench for a while, eyes closed, faces turned towards the sun. It’s so revitalising to feel the promise of warmer weather.
Even though we have stopped feeding the birds for the time being (see last week’s blog) they are still visiting the garden. The goldfinches have now adopted the seed heads of the verbena bonariensis as their breakfast table, and twitter and sway as they pick out the seeds. The garden is a disaster area – overgrown, sopping wet and thoroughly depressing. Mr OG spent some time clearing up the wet leaves and palm spikes and we made a decision to ask someone to help us turn it into a garden needing much less maintenance. Full of good intentions when we are planning inside, it soon dissipates with creaking knees and aching backs, an inability to bend for any length of time or get up again when I do, and the frustration of rampant weeds that seem to reappear as soon as we clear them, is getting the better of our enthusiasm. We booth love the garden, but we can’t keep on top of it, so some simple changes will help. Plus, there’s the excitement of planning something different!
There are a few plants cheerily doing their thing at this time of year – the Sarcococca confusa (Christmas box) is wafting that glorious smell just outside the front door, a daphne odorata is full of pink buds and promises more perfume, there are daffodil shoots aplenty and the lovely silvered leaves of the little woodland cyclamen are showing themselves off beautifully. The bergenia is just starting to flower, a small mahonia has lovely colour but needs a bit of TLC, and I welcome the lime flowers of the helleborus foetidus at this time of year too. I’m sure as the weather warms, we will also get our gardening mojo back!