In the Bleak Midwinter


Well, the world didn’t end yesterday, but it’s having a damn good go at ending today.

We awoke this morning to lashing rain and howling wind from the south.  Even at midday, the sky is not even bright enough to prevent the security lights coming on as we step out of the front door.  The combination of water, displaced moss and fragments from the birds’ suet balls a slate skating rink worthy of Somerset House or the Rockefeller Centre.  That I didn’t end up on my backside with the shopping this morning is a miracle.  Must be my superior balance.  The roof is leaking (damp carpet in the top bedroom – not a good sign) and the front door has swollen up so much that we can only just get in without breaking the glass or a shoulder.

Our coastal garden has yet to receive anything like a frost, so tender exotics such as Solanum laciniatum are still going strong, although they have stopped flowering now.   The Zantedeschia leaves have gone mushy like spinach, so will be cleared away over New Year.  This will make space for me to plunge pots of tulips into the ground between the clumps.  Early winter is when Melianthus major really gets going, although it doesn’t look like we can expect any curious oxblood-coloured flower spikes this year.  I suspect this is down to light deprivation.  The whole garden has become a lot more shady this year, which is something we need to adapt to.  I’ll be taking the crowns of the trees up a bit in late winter so that we get a bit of space and light back.

In the meantime, there’s nothing for it other than to snuggle up indoors and put the RHS flower show dates in the diary.  I’ve had my festive drenching for the day as I collected the turkey and sprouts …… now just the Strictly Come Dancing final to look forward to tonight.  Go Louis!

Louis Smith to win Strictly?

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