Garden Blog - Blog Post

Happy New Season?


We’ve had “New Year”, it’s after the 1st of January and now we’re well into in 2023, having left 2022 far behind (the date at least, if not the impact). We’ve heard the fireworks, seen them on TV or perhaps we might have even gone to a display. We’ve had the parties, the well-wishing messages, the “Top 50 of 2022” programs on TV. We’ve made New Year resolutions that we’ll really try and keep this time.

We’ve probably sung Auld Lang Syne.

Snowdrops might need a hand getting free

It doesn’t really feel like a new year to me though.

I’ve noticed in recent years, that a “New Year” doesn’t suddenly occur on the stroke of midnight at the end of December. The switch-over from the old to the new doesn’t happen in that brief moment when the clock strikes twelve. It doesn’t even pass 24 hours afterwards, when the planet has fully spun on its axis all the way around, letting all timezones catch up to the New Year date.

Instead, I experience New Year over the period of a few months, it’s long, drawn out, subtle, gradual and feels like a much deeper, inexorable march. It’s far more substantial than the movement of the “seconds” hand past the “12” mark on an analogue clock face.

Frost heave of wet/frozen clay soil

For me the “New Year” has become the “New Season” of the garden, when at some point during the winter, there’s a tipping point when there’s more coming into life than there is dying back or staying dormant. I’m not sure exactly when that occurs, but I don’t much care.

Wintersweet in flower from bare wood

I do know that it starts on those winter-sun days, when it might be cold, but the sun is shining (albeit low) in a relatively clear blue sky. I’m enthusiastic to go outside and do some garden jobs of one variety or another. However, while I’m busy with what-not, I’ll suddenly stop at smell of Sarcococca and Wintersweet in flower. As they mature, there’ll also be Winter Honeysuckle and Mahonia. Understated, unassuming mid-winter flowers packing the heaviest, sweetest scent, wafting about the garden (if the wind stays low).

A young winter-flowering honeysuckle

That heady winter floral and spice fragrance is one of the first signs, it’ll quickly be followed by the small carpet (let’s call it a rug) of snowdrops, while the daffodils are showing obvious yellowing flower buds rising, at the same time the magnolia flower buds are visibly getting fatter. At some point in late winter, it will be impossible to ignore the countless bright flashes of pink, red and white of camellia flower buds, readying to open.

A very brave camellia flower

As more plants emerge from dormancy, it all builds to a glorious spring crescendo that leaves no doubt that the new gardening season has arrived.

Panic about the garden running out of control quickly ensues – it’s an annual thing that I’m getting used to.

Until then, I’ll continue doing odd jobs in the brief daylight hours, as weather allows and let the feeling of the “New Season” slowly, inevitably build until it becomes all but impossible to ignore. Perhaps at that point it’ll feel right to write 2023.

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Sunil Patel

I'm Sunil Patel, this is me. I created the Garden at 13 Broom Acres and I open it to visitors. I also bake and write blog posts giving a "behind the scenes" look into what it's like to maintain such a garden.

Visit the blog, then come and visit the garden. We can have a good sit-down, a jolly chinwag and a relaxing cup of tea with a sinfully generous slice of home made cake.

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Lynn Hunt 28/01/2023 - 7:34 pm

Sunil, what a lovely post. I agree, the New Year” begins for me when I pick up the roses I ordered over the holidays!

I don’t know what is going on with my Blogger platform but I am not able to reply to comments. So I will thank you here for your very nice comment on my poinsettia posting.

Also wanted to tell you my new eBook The Dirt Diaries is available on It was released last Wednesday. Exciting and a bit scary!! Take care my friend!

Sunil 30/01/2023 - 10:12 am

Thank you, Lynn, and also thanks for letting me know about your new eBook, I’ll head on over to take a look!

Jean 21/02/2023 - 9:36 pm

I love the start of a new garden season. For me, the new season begins when I see the first shoots of new growth. These are almost always new shoots from crocus bulbs that appear as snow melts away from the south-facing corner of the house foundation. That happened this week. It’s an exciting promise that spring is on its way — and also a reminder to get serious about finishing up winter chores like cleaning and sharpening garden tools.

Sunil 26/02/2023 - 5:05 pm

Hello Jean, I look forward to the new season for all the promise of growth and flowers it brings while simultaneously dreading it because I’m invariably behind on gardening jobs – winter clear-up in particular. I hope you’re able to keep up much better than I can!


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