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Signs Of Life

January 19, 2014
by the gentle author

First Snowdrops in Wapping

Even now, in the depths of Winter, there is plant life stirring. As I travelled around the East End over the past week in the wet and cold, I kept my eyes open for new life and was rewarded for my quest by the precious discoveries that you see here. Fulfilling my need for assurance that we are advancing in our passage through the year, each plant offers undeniable evidence that, although there may be months of Winter yet to come, I can look forward to the Spring that will arrive before too long.

Hellebores in Shoreditch

Catkins in Bethnal Green

Catkins in Weavers’ Fields

Quince flowers in Spitalfields

Cherry blossom in Museum Gardens

Netteswell House is the oldest dwelling in Bethnal Green

Aconites in King Edward VII Memorial Park in Limehouse

Cherry Blossom near Columbia Rd

Hellebores in Spitalfields

Spring greens at Spitalfields City Farm

The gherkin and the artichoke

Cherry blossom in Itchy Park

Soft fruit cuttings at Spitalfields City Farm

Seedlings at Spitalfields City Farm

Cherry blossom at Christ Church

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25 Responses leave one →
  1. January 19, 2014

    Please don’t tell us you’ve taken those cherry blossom photos this year?

  2. January 19, 2014

    It’s always good to see the first signs of life at this time of tree, I have been taking photos of the same here in Germany. Valerie

  3. January 19, 2014

    Love winter flowers, thank you.

    Haha gherkin and artichoke :)

  4. Paul Kelly permalink
    January 19, 2014

    They’re not here yet , but wait until you see the amazing multicoloured carpet of crocuses in St. Anne’s in Limehouse.

  5. Greg Tingey permalink
    January 19, 2014

    I’m suprised at the Eranthis hyemalis (Aconites)
    They normally need lots of cold to keep going, & won’t grow in warmer climates.
    I assume those shown are well-established – I Have great difficulty getting them to establish permanently.
    (In Walthamstow – where it will be cooler than Spitalfields)

    But yes, it’s all happening.
    Down on our allotments, the honey-bees are flying, when it’s not raining (!)

  6. RAYMOND BINES permalink
    January 19, 2014

    these are beautiful photo’s , thank you so much for so much happiness, you are giving .

  7. Sally permalink
    January 19, 2014

    The pure joy of catkins and signs of new growth – thank you for this post.

  8. Patricia Celeveland-Peck permalink
    January 19, 2014

    A lovely hopeful start to the day. Down here in Sussex the sun is shining which makes a change from days and days or rain and mud – and we do have snowdrops, hellebores and viburnum to cheer us up but London is always a week or two ahead – so thank you for the cheering sight of plants on the move.

  9. January 19, 2014

    Chapeau ! You see things with those special eyes — just as I do too…!

    Love & Peace
    ACHIM

  10. Chris Ashby permalink
    January 19, 2014

    As always the answer lies in the soil!
    Best wishes,
    Chris A.

  11. January 19, 2014

    Snowdrops, oh, how I love them! Always brings joy to my heart to see them and gives me the first sign that spring is coming – well for me anyway! Lovely pictures, thanks.

  12. January 19, 2014

    Absolutely NO signs of life here in Toronto……nor will there be for several weeks methinks.

  13. January 19, 2014

    Lovely photographs.

  14. Elizabeth cornwell permalink
    January 19, 2014

    Even in Northumberland which is weeks behind you in London the snowdrops are out in my garden.Never had them this early,& the birds are singing!

  15. Lloyd Adalist permalink
    January 19, 2014

    As a visitor from the US Northwest where our climate is similar, I’ve visited London twice in mid and late January. It is a wonderful time of the year to see all those nascent plants and blossoms just emerging. Your photo of Christ Church is stunning.

  16. Veronica Horwell permalink
    January 19, 2014

    Way down south — Clapham Old Town — the first open flowers on a discreet patch of wild violets were open on January 7, when the pavements were carpeted with needle from just-discarded Christmas trees. Secret London, always a little warmer.

  17. the gentle author permalink*
    January 19, 2014

    Yes, Veronica, I have wild violets in flower in my Spitalfields garden too! They are very sweetly scented.

  18. Sue Ladr permalink
    January 19, 2014

    I love these signs and the photography, but I can’t help but wonder if the early signs of spring are a result of global warming?

  19. January 20, 2014

    Bradshaw’s Hand Book to London took me to St John’s Wood in early January and I found hellebores in full flower, Hammemelis x Intermedia, sarcocca confusa, winter jasmine, ornamental cherry trees, viburnum tinus, tree ferns, cyclamens, callicarpa dichotoma, heather, and berries on pyracantha, cotoneaster, and snowberries! I photographed and posted the evidence!

  20. Bronchitikat permalink
    January 20, 2014

    Thanks for the signs of life. Just one thing, those ‘cherry blossoms’ are all almond blossoms. Cherries don’t blossom for a couple of months yet, no matter how warm the weather!

  21. Nina permalink
    January 20, 2014

    ….. lovely article and photographs, thank you – I was so happy to see snowdrops flowering last week that I actually said ‘Hello’ to them …… if Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?

  22. Jenny permalink
    January 20, 2014

    I think the cherries ARE cherries – simply ‘winter flowering’ ones. And all the more beautiful for that!

    Thanks to the Gentle Author for these uplifting pictures!

  23. Jared permalink
    January 21, 2014

    The Spring – Thomas Carew

    Now that the winter’s gone, the earth hath lost
    Her snow-white robes, and now no more the frost
    Candies the grass, or casts an icy cream
    Upon the silver lake or crystal stream;
    But the warm sun thaws the benumbed earth,
    And makes it tender; gives a sacred birth
    To the dead swallow; wakes in hollow tree
    The drowsy cuckoo, and the humble-bee.
    Now do a choir of chirping minstrels bring
    In triumph to the world the youthful Spring.
    The valleys, hills, and woods in rich array
    Welcome the coming of the long’d-for May.
    Now all things smile, only my love doth lour;
    Nor hath the scalding noonday sun the power
    To melt that marble ice, which still doth hold
    Her heart congeal’d, and makes her pity cold.
    The ox, which lately did for shelter fly
    Into the stall, doth now securely lie
    In open fields; and love no more is made
    By the fireside, but in the cooler shade
    Amyntas now doth with his Chloris sleep
    Under a sycamore, and all things keep
    Time with the season; only she doth carry
    June in her eyes, in her heart January.

    Still two or more likely three months to go here in Stockholm… Thanks for the hope!

  24. Jan Bradley permalink
    January 22, 2014

    Are you sure the blossoms are cherry blossoms? I think they may be another flowering tree; cherry blossoms come later in the Spring.

    Nevertheless, these photos are beautiful. The flowers are proof that the Earth is indeed up to something, and soon Spring will be upon us, inevitable and uncontained.

  25. Carolyn Badcock - nee Hooper permalink
    January 22, 2014

    What delightful photos!! Just love the one with the artichoke. I must admit I’ve never seen catkins, hellebores…………….. Thanks!

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