First very cold night of the winter and this morning five blackbirds have been squabbling over the limited food resources round the garden. One of the birds came up close to the window and just perched on a pot staring out across the frozen pond.
Blackbirds will feed from a high bird table, but they prefer pecking around at ground level. This morning I mixed up some uncooked oats with a little lard and chucked in a few raisins and left the mixture on the patio. One male bird attempted to claim the lot, but whilst he chased off one competitor another would dart in and sneak off with a beak full.
Normally the Bourbon rose, Madame Isaac Pereire shows off with large and glamorous blooms, but last week I noticed it had made an out of season effort to flower. Yes, the bloom is small, but nevertheless it does provide a cheery pink addition to the winter garden. The rose is grown in a moderately sheltered corner up against the wall of the house, but doesn’t usually start flowering until May. A few blasts of easterly winter wind keeps it dormant, but so far this winter we’ve had buckets of rain from the southwest, no snow and few easterlies.
Further down in the garden a tough, modern climbing rose, Karlsruhe, has also managed to produce a fuchsia pink bloom to lift the gloomy grey. Looking at these roses again I think that undersized and blighted flowers look odd and messy. This particularly applies to the last of the winter outliers, the David Austin English rose, St Swithun. In summer the flowers are very large, opened cupped and a delicate soft warm pink, but this January bloom is small and a darker pink. Realistically, I should just cut off all the stunted flowers and save the plants their energy. Oh, how we clutch at straws.