It’s January, but it’s almost balmy in the park

At the end of last month it didn’t feel very wintry and now, already halfway through January, it is still surprisingly mild with no sign of a true cold snap in the forecasts for East Anglia.

Ornamental grasses are left for winter interest and cover for wildlife.

My local park, Holywells Park, even has a hint of spring about it. Between the dead and drying ornamental grasses I spied long, green blades of recent growth.

Colourful evergreens

There was also the colourful mix of reliable evergreens; ivy, box, holly, euonymous and even the dramatic black ophiopogon planiscapus all looking ‘super’ vibrant and healthy (no signs or blemishes from frost damage as so far no heavy frosts).

The Orangery, the Victorian conservatory in Holywells Park.

Of course, even in this rather mild English winter there are still plants that need to be given full protection from the merest suggestion of frost or even a hint of a chilly breeze. One such specimen is the banana tree. There’s plenty of protected space and a pitched ceiling in the beautifully restored Victorian conservatory to allow this banana tree to thrive.

Tender plants protected in the Orangery.

As I continued through the park, there was a surprise. I walked through this distinctly autumnal scene. There had been a late drop of fronds from an ornamental tree and the amber tones seemed to proclaim, “No winter here, move on, move on, it’s still autumn”.

It occurred to me if there’s a planting of winter evergreens, a flourishing summer banana tree, albeit in a conservatory, a springtime clump of green shoots and an autumnal carpet of brittle orange leaves, then at this moment Holywells Park was a park of all seasons!

We recognise the green shoots of spring or rich autumnal colour as seasonal, as normal for our part of the world, but by the end of this new Climate Crisis decade . . . . what will we witness, what will we be experiencing as seasonal?

For a reflective view of living in a time of Climate Crisis here’s an article by Professor Jem Bendell exploring ideas of resilience, relinquishment, restoration and reconciliation.

Author: agnesashe

Artisan, blogger and passionate East Anglian working from home.

10 thoughts on “It’s January, but it’s almost balmy in the park”

  1. Thanks for the link to Jem Bendell’s post, which I’ve only skim-read so far. Sadly, we’re still a long way from the stratagems he proposes. Meanwhile, I enjoyed walking in the park with you.

    1. Yes, when I first came across his work last year I remember thinking that it was pretty ‘far out’. However, on revisiting it I have found the proposals, although advocating extensive changes to our Western lifestyles, include some optimism which is absent from most of the current doom-laden discourse. I heard on the news this morning that Microsoft will be investing $1 billion into backing carbon reduction and carbon capture technologies. It does feel as if the world has finally woken up to the scale of the problem – juries out though on whether it might be too late. Although I am sure those across the globe who’ve already experienced extreme floods or fires think that actually it is already too late.

    1. I decided to add the link to his article as he isn’t widely known, as yet. Also, although it is a tough read at least he is trying to put forward ideas of how we might live in these challenging times.

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