Many gardeners say that for them it is the humble snowdrop which heralds the possibility of spring and a new gardening year. For me however I think it is the yellow or red flowers of witch-hazel, (Hamamelis).
Christmas is still more than a memory when the flowers start to clothe this bush, bringing a welcome burst of colour to the dank dreariness of the winter garden. The spidery flowers have quite an intense spicy fragrance. This is not so noticeable out of doors, but there is no missing it if one introduces a few twigs to the heat of indoors.
The first of the 2013 seed catalogues hit the hall mat this morning. I will probably limit today's gardening to a few judicious ticks in the margins of the aforementioned catalogue. Selecting seed for the forthcoming year as I sit in front of a fire probably beats layering myself in clothing and wheeling compost.