I can't believe we're nearing the end of the first week in 2012. Happy New Year seems a bit belated, however it's perfectly normal to wish you a bonne année at any time through January in France, right up to the thirty first, so I may wish you another Happy New Year in just under four weeks time!
Daylength is slowing increasing. By the end of the month, it'll have extended by just under an hour at this latitude. My thoughts have already turned to longer days. Above is rose 'Golden showers' pictured last year a little before the longest day.
The weather at the moment is ideal; breezy and mild with no hard frost forecast, so a perfect window in which to get on and do the high altitude pruning necessary for golden showers to become a splendiferous thing by next Summer solstice.
Pruning this year has been a dream. This Christmas, Karen bought me a pair of Japanese 'Okatsune' secateurs together with a swiss sharpening stone from a company called Niwaki. These are simply the best secateurs I have ever used. No splaying, no crushing just the sharpest, cleanest cut possible.
I came across Niwaki some time ago when company founder, Jake Hobson contacted me to see if he could use a picture from my blog for a forthcoming book. No problem. The rest is history as they say, and now I'm into Japanese steel, it's a beautiful thing. Cheers Jake!
Finally, can I point out that I received no 'kickback' or any financial gain whatsoever from Niwaki and that no children or animals were harmed in writing this post.
Happy New Year!