Time constraints, poor weather and ill health have conspired against me during the last few weeks, coupled with the fact I can only see the garden at weekends at this time of year as it is dark when I leave for work in the mornings and is dark when I return home each evening.
Despite the grey drabness of January, there are little pockets of colour around the garden, with lots of new growth including tightly packed shoots at the base of dried sedum stems, narcissi, crocus, snowdrops and hyacinths.
Blooms are a joy during the bleak wintery days, and none more welcome than cyclamen, wallflowers and violas.
And who could disregard hellebores?
Vibrant viburnum tinus either side of the patio arch began flowering in autumn.
These minute white flowers hidden among glossy green leaves that belong to the evergreen winter box or Sarcococca confusa have a glorious fragrance.
Foliage plays its part at this time of year too, from the various types of ivy in yellows and greens and variegated with white, to euonymus fortunei that glow in the subdued light of winter. New growth on hebes as here is also a great way to inject much needed colour.
The deep pink rhododendron's buds are swelling in preparation for its dazzling spring performance.
However, the new winter flowering variety has yet to bloom. I think the description refers to the time of year in more southern gardens that enjoy a milder winter to that of Yorkshire. But then winter is far from over so there's still time.
Very few jobs have been necessary this month apart from filling bird feeders and replenishing the bird baths. TMTC has pruned a few of last year's new branches on the staghorn tree to encourage a better balanced shape, and taken today's photos.
Another way to use colour in the winter garden is with stems. Cornus or dogwoods are one of the most obvious. Above is c. alba 'Baton Rouge'. Below is an unnamed variety, very similar in hue but much taller. It isn't a bad tie in with the red of our Yen Garden's pergola.
A garden can be very interesting in winter.