The 27th December James and I left for Calcutta. We only spent two days there, but our best time was spent wandering around the Flower Market at ten in the morning. You have never seen so many busy people, all doing something different, and the wonderful contrasts of colour, all vibrant. James never stopped saying to me that he wanted to grow marigolds at Pettifers, and it was extraordinary as when we got back Polly told me that she wanted to order the seeds of Calendula Indian Prince to grow in the par terre with the dahlias. I have not told James yet, he will be so pleased. When I got back half way through January, the garden seemed to have woken up. There were hellebores, all different colours, snowdrops and aconites, and the smell of sarcoccoca stopping you in your tracks. The ferns had come into their own and doubled or trebled in size from when we had planted them about two years ago. Almost as soon as I was back we went to see our friends Val and Rich at Woodchippings. One is lucky to have such a magical place practically on our doorstep, it has to be the best winter garden I have ever seen. We have just spotted our first two crocuses on the crocus lawn, so off we have just been in the pouring rain to Bob Brown at Cotswold Garden Flowers to buy some more. What we bought was crocus tommasinianus rosea which Bob says is very rare.