After all the heartbreak and sadness of the autumn I am relived to finally be back here on a Monday showing you my weekly garden finds. This first week of January is a very quiet one in my garden. I know that the aconites, snowdrops and hellebores are all just about to pop – in fact I do have a few hellebore flowers already out but too few to cut for the house just yet – so for now the beds are waiting for the rollercoaster of flowers to begin again. I love this quiet period – I can get on with jobs at an unhurried pace and still have time to stand and take in the beauty of the bare landscape and the bones of the trees.
Particularly at this time of year I love to observe the lichen and moss which makes its home amongst the bare branches of old trees and shrubs in the garden and today I decided that a jug of lichen covered twigs was just what I needed in my kitchen to welcome the new month.
I think I love the dried heads of hydrangea Annabelle even more in the winter than when she was fresh and bridal like in the heat of the summer. I leave the papery parchment coloured heads standing until the last possible moment in spring, but I am always happy to cut a head or two for the house during the winter months.
Wanting to find out a bit more about lichen I was surprised to find that there is a British Lichen Society and I would advice you to look it up if you have a botanical mind – there is a wealth of information on the site. I have learnt that lichen are actually a partnership between a fungus and an alga rather than an organism in their own right. The lichen I have found is leafy in character and is known I believe as foliose. Foliose lichen grows horizontally and is attached to its host by root like threads. Looked at closely they remind me of beds of coral.
I have used a simple milk jug to display my finds this week – it is a recent purchase and one of my current favourites. Underneath you can see a candle which smells like fire embers as it burns – perfect for the time of year. In the background I have included a small Christmas tree which is silver with crystal drops. I know that for most people Christmas ends on the 25th December and decorations are rushed away for another year. This always saddens me as I like to celebrate the full 12 days of Christmas. I decorate in December on a slow burn – finishing with the real tree which goes up just before Christmas day, so once complete I like to enjoy the magic and sparkle that the decorations bring to the winter evenings for as long as possible. The 5th of January will find me packing everything away, although a few fairy lights usually manage to slip under the radar and remain in place until Valentines Day.
With both my parents now gone this has seemed a strange Christmas and New Year – empty seats at the festive table, fewer cards and presents to both give and receive and the knowledge that the joy to be found in the year to come cannot be shared with them any more. There is however a great comfort in a garden – more than just a place to grow plants a garden becomes a part of your soul and tending to such a garden is very healing. Here at ‘In A Vase On Monday’ not only do we tend to our gardens, but we also look for small joys that we can bring inside to brighten our days every week of the week. As ever I am sending a very big thank you to Cathy at Rambling In The Garden for creating this lovely community and I wish you all a very happy new gardening year!