Winter can be a dull and depressing time of year, especially for me. The butterflies, dragonflies and drag racing are only for the warm seasons. The light is usually too poor to get decent shots of birds so I often sulk around the place feeling gloomy. This winter has been quite mild only a couple of frosts so far which means February and March will probably be inundated with snow and ice! Due to the (fairly) clement weather the garden has a touch of colour. One rose is still in bloom, that’s seven months solid, be a shame to prune it back in a few weeks time. The winter heathers are starting to flower also primroses! One plant that has done well this year is the Winter Heliotrope.
This plant is the perfect ground cover. We had a dead area beneath a weeping willow tree alongside a large conifer hedge. The heliotrope took to it with gusto soon covering the spot with it’s large heart shaped leaves. The bonus is that in December it sends up these 8in (200mm) spikes of flowers which have the most gorgeous deep scent of vanilla. I find it strange for it to have it’s flowers now when there are no pollinators about. If you are thinking of adding this plant to your garden be warned it’s a bit of a thug. It spreads by rhizomes and can quickly take over. In the autumn we removed some of the hedge and built a raised bed to fill the spot. The bed is 8in high but already the heliotrope is appearing!
On the 10th of January we had the first full moon of the year which is called the wolf moon it also coincided with a penumbral eclipse. Thought I would try and get a shot as I’ve never photographed the moon before. I used my 300mm lens but still had to crop. The settings were iso 1000, f8, 1/800s using a tripod. I did have to alter the white balance to get the colour right.