Friday, December 21, 2012

21st December. A cure for SAD!

 21st December. I must confess that I love this date! It's the shortest day of the year. Which means that from this point onwards the sun will slowly start to climb higher in the sky, and impercetibly, each day will be very slightly longer than the last. Ok, so any change in daylength will not be noticed for a good few weeks yet but it is still a cheerful thought, especially for those of us who suffer from a bit of winter Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD!

This year it's not just the short days that have been contributing to the gloomy feel. After a very wet summer, autumn has followed suit and produced some extremely wet weather. The ground here in the South West has been well and truly saturated for some time now, making my regular gardening work rather challenging at times. Working the soil has been completely out of the question in some gardens, with pools of standing water appearing in some borders.

Fatsia japonica 'variegata'. This poor plant has it's roots in standing water. 
Whilst Woodbury and the surrounding villages have thankfully been spared the terrible flooding that other areas of Devon and Cornwall have suffered this autumn, the streams have been in impressive flow. As have the roads! Some winter sun would not go amiss right now to dry things out a little!


One of the drier lanes around Woodbury!
Gilbrook, Woodbury.
Yet despite the lack of sun, copious rainfall and soggy ground, there are signs of life stirring in the garden. Mahonia japonica is budding up nicely, ready for its winter display of highly scented yellow flowers.
Buds on Mahonia japonica. With raindrops!
A number of spring flowering bulbs are poking their heads above ground too, in particular, the snowdrops are doing well. It's won't be many weeks before these are in full flower. Always a joy in the depths of winter!
Snowdrops will soon be making a carpet of colour.
Numerous species of Arum are now leafing up. I may make a further post about these at a later date, but for now, here are a couple of shots of our native species, Arum maculatum starting into growth. This is a neat little plant, and whilst not suited to a manicured garden, it makes an excellent addition to a woodland garden or a wild corner.

The first leaves on Arum maculatum, growing up through saturated ground!
Arum maculatum
I'll leave you with this final photo of a lichen encrusted wind chime and cherry tree trunk. It's the kind of effect that only only be achieved with the passing of time, and I love the way nature has taken over in this scene. If the passing of the shortest day of the year is not a cure for SAD, then taking time to reflect on the nature that surrounds us in the garden will surely lift the spirits!