The delightful and knowledgeable Chloris of The Blooming Garden invites us to share our top ten blooms at around this time every month, so do visit her blog to see all sorts of interesting and often unusual plants.
Here, it is very much a case of nearlies, almosts and not quites. Another few weeks will see the hellebores and the snowdrops at their peak, but at the moment there are only a few hellebores where the buds have begun to open, like the lovely big clump of H ‘Harvington Double White’ above, new acquisition H ‘Cheryl’s Shine’ (below left) and a single yellow:
There are an odd few native snowdrops in bloom, but again their full impact will be not be seen for another few weeks, but at least the earlier special named varieties are beginning to demonstrate their subtle differences to those who are interested – ‘Ailwyn’ (top left) has a distinctive pair of dots on the inner perianth segments (top right), whereas G ‘Sandersii’ sports a bright yellow ovary and ‘Trumps’ has splayed sepals which become more obvious as the buds open:
I am thrilled to have (nearly!) a bloom on my young Daphne bholua ‘Jacqueline Postill’ and pretty pleased to have embryonic blooms on an even newer purchase, Ribes laurifolium, which I had first seen on Chloris’ blog:
There are some far more ordinary blooms providing pleasure in January, like the simple native primrose and the dependable Sarcococca (“too many ‘c’s”, as Chloris says!) humilis and its teasing perfume:
Another reliable January flowerer is Viburnum bodnantense ‘Dawn’, putting on new flushes of blooms over a period of months although sadly retaining the browned-off remains of the earlier ones; nevertheless, she is fragrant, especially on milder days, and always welcome:
Typical ‘not quites’ are the single Cyclamen coum and Crocus tommasinianus that were encountered as I rambled with my camera today:
I couldn’t show off my January blooms without including any witch hazels, so here are Hamamelis ‘Strawberries and Cream’, H ‘Arnold Promise’ and the one I have the softest spot for, H ‘Harry’. The latter is pretty much the view I have from one of the kitchen windows, where I can admire Harry from a distance of a couple of feet whatever the weather – he is particularly fine this year and the dark ivy is ideal to show off his handsome features, so there is a lot of gazing to be done!