The arrival of Winter brings a time for reflection
Life & Style

The arrival of Winter brings a time for reflection

THE eyes of November are drowsy, and so we are invited to rest in its dreary days of dormancy.

It can also be a time of reflection, a time when the delight of summer becomes a memory, and we begin to dream of the better days that will surely come with spring.

We all dream of doing great things in life yet all we are really called upon is to brighten just one little spot.

The brightness might illuminate a person, an occasion, celebration, commemoration, or an area in the quiescent garden.

My little spot is drenched. The area is filled with dampness.

Everything is wet, and immediately outside the garden studio the stately birch stands thoroughly soaked with great drops of moisture rolling down its gleaming white chin.

I’ll hardly need to wash it until late spring.

At the moment this extraordinary birch is undressing and soon it will stand naked and pure white in the ever-diminishing light and cooling days.

Over the weeks ahead, shafts of light will now and again illuminate its trunk and sinewy branches, and even on pitch-black nights, feeble moonlight will outline its handsome, ghostly shape.

I continue this month to wage a battle for bright spots and winter flowers.

One bloom in November is worth ten in June but make no mistake about it, it is a constant battle.

My love for winter flowers has its origin in my undue adherence to an unrealistic dream; I want my garden to go on month after month without interruption for I cannot bear to think of it as a place that is nurtured, tended, and tenanted only in the easy months.

I refuse to have it draped with Nature’s dust sheets!

For these reasons I await the arrival of a few snippets from plants which will shortly arrive (unannounced mainly) in choice areas of the back garden.

Some, as always, will look decidedly shaggy.

Sprigs of sarcococca are not at all handsome but they will scent the garden and a whole room for up to a week if brought inside.

An established daphne is another that can easily spare a few stems for indoors, spreading its electrifying perfume everywhere.

Other prized pickings will include the fabulous iris unguicularis - which you cut whilst still tightly rolled then witness the amazing striped blossoms unfurl in a plain glass vase.

All in all, the list goes on despite the imminent arrival of November. Yes, the best is yet to come.