January. New beginnings, transitions and endings. A chance to start again. Last year was a hard year, as it was for many. My little boy being ill made for a hard year in many ways, but he’s on the mend, and now I feel like I can actually try and concentrate on planning and being creative again, something that I could not allow myself to do last year. It has been a very calm start to the year, and the mild air at the beginning of January was very welcome, although growing up in Scotland, I can’t get get used to this warm air so early in the year down here! We have had one morning frost so far, which was transient and beautiful.
The song birds are starting to stir now, and the bird song and chatter is most welcomed. Little balls of feathers, flitting amongst the bare branches and bickering at the bird feeders. Blue tits, Great tits and Robins seen from afar in the trees and finding paths through the hedgerows, which will soon awaken.
Our first snowdrops and yellow primroses were spotted, and we have picked our first daffodil for the flower press. The cheering sight of actonites on the woodland floor fill me with delight, as do the skeletal remnants of seed heads, which I have been reluctant to cut back this year, as they provide a much needed food source to a variety of birds, including the beautiful Goldfinches.
This year, I am hoping to not only embrace the seasons for all they have to give, but the months too. Observing nature is about looking outwards, and is here to anchor us. I find solace in the continuity of emerging shoots, daffodils, anemones, ranunculus and tulips all pushing through the cold soil. I’ve enjoyed taking time to notice what is appearing in the garden this month, after a long winter. I often forget what Spring bulbs I have planted, as the garden is constantly changing with time. I wonder what will appear that I have forgotten about? I am tormented by grey squirrels here, who dig up my bulbs and eat them, so its always a surprise!
Here are some things I am embracing in the month of January:
- Being outside whenever I can! Planning at least one cliff top walk a week.
- Feeding my winter garden visitors, and taking part in the RSPB garden bird watch survey. (If you want to try and spot a Great Spotted Woodpecker, always offer peanuts! )
- Plan the growing year ahead, ordering and collating my seeds! My favourite time of year! This year I have bought my vegetable seed from a local organic farm called Tamar Organics. Last year I had great success with the seeds I bought from here, and I think it is down to the climate suiting the seeds, as they come from roughly 60 miles away. I am also in love with the colours from Sarah Raven.
- Pressing the first flowers of the year and taking notes of when and where I found them - part of my ongoing 5 year nature journal to compare the emergence of flowers over the years.
- Keeping a nature journal. I started this last year, but didn’t quite manage to continue with it. It can be in the form of daily notes, drawings, lists or photographs.
- Building more nest boxes for the busy Spring ahead.
- Doing weekly beach cleans (if you live by the sea) , or taking the litter pickers to the local park.
- Plant peas, and make friends with a robin while you are it! This little chap spent over an hour with me in the greenhouse!
I look forward to bringing you some fun creative projects this year. I love crafting and have done so since I could use a pair of scissors. I am hoping to embrace that this year, as well as bring you some new prints, patterns and products.
Thanks for reading! See you in February!