Cold Snap


Goodness it’s cold. If you’re in the UK, you won’t thank me for stating the bleeding obvious. If you are in Australia or New Zealand supping a glass of chilled chardy by the pool, spare a thought for us poor Poms freezing our extremities off this week.

So far our seaside garden has escaped frost, despite potholes in the road outside our gate being thick with ice. Zingiber zerumbet ‘Variegata’ (pinecone ginger) remains completely unscathed and we have carpets of Geranium maderense seedings appearing everywhere. Microclimates are extraordinary, inexplicable, precious things: I give regular thanks for the one that protects my precious plants.

Although I will in the garden tomorrow come hell or high water, it was too bitter to contemplate working outside today. Instead I’ve been leafing through the Broadleigh Gardens catalogue putting asterisks by a host of amarines, nerines and amaryllis I fancy for the garden next year. Amaryllis ‘Hathor’, a variety with heavenly white flowers, is top of my wish list.

Meanwhile I am contemplating the patchwork of yellow bricks that make up the facade of our new house, considering how to disguise it. I am almost settled on the idea of training a large specimen of Magnolia grandiflora ‘Exmouth’ up the wall between the two ground floor windows. I have been in love with this stately American tree since I was at the University of Reading’s Wantage Hall, where two magnificent specimens flank either side of the quadrangle. I won’t be able to offer my own magnolia the same free reign, but I hope that, one day, I will marvel at its leathery leaves, plate-sized flowers and incomparable fragrance through the library windows.

Stay Warm. TFG.