The new header picture shows the camellia Little Bit, flowering in my garden in January 2009. At that time, there was a glorious display of camellias, hellebores and snowdrops but today I found a great deal of depressing devastation. Winters here are normally very mild and plants that people in other parts of the UK would dig up or protect survive and flourish with no special attention. How I wish I had heeded my country neighbours who told me that the abundance of berries warned of harsh weather to come, instead of believing the predictions from the Met Office.
Most of the snow has gone, leaving the ground saturated and the plants bent and broken and still harbouring some ice crystals.
I walked around, feeling quite overwhelmed by the destruction and wondering if I could face replanting the whole garden, then I saw a few signs of life. The camellias, which would normally be in full bloom by now, still have their buds:
The magnolia buds look rather forlorn but perhaps they will open:
and the lilacs promise to fill the garden with colour and scent, even if nothing else has survived
I hope the Big Freeze is not leaving you with the effects of a Terrible Thaw.