Thursday January 1st  New Years Day
It was cold overnight -3°C but once the mist had cleared it turned into a sunny winter's day. The hoar frost from the previous day's freezing fog was still on the trees and hedges and I took some good frosty photographs on our afternoon walk round the back lanes

Friday January 2nd

Another sunny day and just warm enough to melt the hoar frost. My seed potatoes and onion sets arrived this morning Rather earlier than expected. I will put them in the conservatory where they will at least be protected from the frost (just)

Went on a trip to Colemere. Not as many birds as we expected. Maybe they have gone even further south judging by the number of flocks of geese and ducks we have heard flying overhead in the last few days.

Even so the broom is already in flower and there were plenty of barges on the canal, many with wood stoves burning. We stayed until the sun went down around 4pm and got some really spectacular sunset pictures.

Saturday January 3rd
The temperature overnight fell to -6°C and remained well below freezing all day with a thick fog. Not a day for venturing outside.

Sunday January 4th

Overnight fell to -7°C but came warmer by the morning. Rose just above freezing in the afternoon and the leaf mold I had scraped away to plant the new hedge was thawed out enough to move back after placing the daffodil bulbs from another part of the garden between the two rows of hedging plants. Tomorrow I will try to plant some primroses along the outside of the hedge to finish this part of the project.

Monday January 5th
Only -5°C during the night but it rained just before dawn and the temperature has never risen above freezing all day despite it being sunny. Most of the paths and the drive were covered in black ice, very treacherous, so the only job I could do was saw up and split some more logs. This is the longest cold spell for many years so maybe we will need some of this new wood before the winter is finished.

Back to school tomorrow for Pat. It may be one of the few days when tkaing the car rather than riding her bicycle to work would be advisable. Me, I can stay warm in my tiny office warmed by my computerSmile

Tuesday January 6th
Still very cold. Sawed a few more logs in the afternoon

Wednesday January 7th

Not as cold overnight but still below freezing. The temperature rose to 2°C and then it started raining!! So the ground became even more slippery and I could do anything outside.

Thursday-Friday January 7-8th
Slightly warmer. Started to move the ivy from the ground in the new garden and move the leaf mold it is growing in to mulch the new hedge.

Saturday January 10th
Went on our Christmas trip to my younger daughters house to see all the family - sort of a late Christmas visit. It was still very cold when we went for a short walk in the afternoon so I added a few more Winter pictures

Sunday January 11th
The weather warmed up overnight and it is now wet and windy. I think I preferred cold and clearFrown

Monday January 12th
Another wet day. It is now warm enough to start chitting the new seed potatoes in the conservatory. I do this by placing them in 12 cell trays on the floor near the window so they get good light but not direct sunlight.

Tuesday-Thursday January 13-15th
Temperatures above freezing most of the time with occasional heavy rain showers. However a strong SW wind made it feel a lot colder. Continued to strip the ivy from the ground in the new garden. This going to be a long job but at least it is warm work

Friday January 16th
Another cold day though not as windy and mainly dry. Pat helped me plant the primroses along the front of the new hedge. Stripped some of the ivy away from the bank between the hedge and the ditch alongside the verge but the exhaust fumes from the continuous stream of traffic meant I couldn't do it for too long.

Saturday January 17th

At last a still dry day so I could finally clear away the last of the fallen leaves from the paths, empty flower beds and down the outside of the polytunnel. This is the third time I have done it this winter. Each time it is a 3.4 hour job but it does make a lot of good compost

There are plenty of signs that spring is on its way with iris, crocus and narcissus leaves  pushing through the soil. No signs of snowdrops yet but the  Jasmine, which was knocked back by the heavy frost over the New Year has started to flower again with an almost overpowering scent as you walk past. Unlike those awful 'fresh' artificial fragrances in washing powder and fabric conditioner this has no detrimental effect on me at all

Sunday January 18th
Another cold sunny day but with storms forecast later. Made a start clearing and digging over the vegetable garden. Those heavy frosts over the New Year have worked wonders on the soil making it really easy to work and rake into a fine tilth just like the gardening books say. Not at all like the soggy unworkable soils of the previous last 4 or 5 winters. It really is good to have some proper January weather again. Hopefully it will be followed by a proper Spring and Summer as wellSmile

Monday-Tuesday 19-20th January
Unsettled windy weather made it difficult to do much in the garden. I continued to clear the ivy from the surface of the new garden but some bulbs are starting to show through so I had to give it up for fear of damaging them. There are snowdrops, Aconites, narcissus and bluebells which have been there for many years and I have no idea where most of them are till they come through properly. It might be May before I can safely continue to clear the ivy and dig up the nettles, docks, ragwort and cow parsley also well entrenched down there.

Wednesday-Thursday 21-22 January
The electricity supply to the woodshed and polytunnel failed some weeks ago and I need to get it working again by the end of February when I switch on the propagators. The cable is buried beneath the paths leading from the garage to the woodshed and I needed to lift the flags to inspect it. It was too wet and cold to do this up till recently but I have made a start. Fortunately the problem was at the far end of the cable so I have cut it back and with a little rerouting it should be possible to reconnect it to a re-sited junction box in the wood shed.

Half pruned the roses now that the risk of heavy frost seems to have gone at least for the time being.

Friday 23rd January
Wet and windy weather prevented any work in the garden

Saturday 24th January
A much better day. Cold and sunny for the most part. Completed forking over the vegetable garden. Raked it flat and laid woven black polythene over it. This has too purposes; it stops weeds growing and warms the soil ready for sowing from March onwards.

Sunday 25th January
A lot of the brash and medium branches from the hedge I cut down was dumped temporarily on a herbaceous bed which is now starting to sprout. So we started to cut up the branches and move them nearer the compost heaps for shredding. Eventually ran out of storage room so tomorrow I will get the shredder out again

The sunny and milder weather is starting to encourage the growth of the spring bulbs. It wont be long before we have snowdrops, aconite and iris flowering and even some of the miniature narcissus. The buds of the camelias are also starting to swell.

Monday 26th January
Started to shred the large pile of brash we added to yesterday. There is a lot of it and more to come.

Tuesday 27th January

Dull and drizzly all day

Wednesday 28th January
A better day. Cold and still with sunny intervals. Yet more shredding but ran out of petrol so I will have to stop till Pat can get some more
The chrysanthemums resting in their pots in the polytunnel are showing signs of regrowth. I sprayed then with Bordeaux mixture as a precaution against the new shoots required for cuttings going mouldy. Time to start preparing the propagators for this.

Thursday 29th January
Dull and damp with a biting wind. Not a day for working outside unless you really have to.

My computer 'died' on me and I spent several hours fixing it. As you can see it is now workiing againSmile

Friday-Saturday 30-31 January
I started suffering from a cold earlier this week which I thought was gone but it has now got worse and I don't feel like doing much outside especially as it has now got very coid and windy outside and the forecast is for snow next week.