The last plant I expected to be blooming over the New Year was Geranium maderense, the Maderia Cranesbill. Clearly confused, a few shocking-pink flowers are braving the elements, sheltered below an umbrella of huge glossy leaves. The foliage is faring less well. Nestled in a gap by the front steps the leaves are in the way of booted feet, pushchairs and howling gales, so have been duly shredded. If the poor plant can survive the remainder of the winter we should enjoy a wonderful candy-coloured cloud of flowers come April. Having lost plants every winter for the last five years, it makes me wonder whether we should try again with these dazzling divas in other parts of the garden.