Walking round the garden this morning I noticed a group of ten primula Guinevere. The original plant went in this spring, with its beautiful evergreen bronze green leaves. These show off the pale pink flowers, and it has an award of merit, which it richly deserves. Polly pulled it apart to make the clump that we now have. It is at the front of the Apricot border. In almost all our borders there are snowdrops bobbing up, far too early, but have all increased well which is thrilling. They do very well here – I wonder if I can persuade any of my galanthophile friends to come over to help me name them as the birds have taken all of the labels. I fear that there are not enough hours in the day for my snowdrop friends.
Just outside the dining room door hangs long green tassels of Itea Illicifolia which are also covering our bedroom window. Facing that is Azara microphylla variegata. It has a very delicate variegation, and t he most enthralling scent of vanilla when it is flowering. In close proximity to the house I try to have evergreen things, so there are hellebores and ferns at the foot of the Azara and Itea. Near the house we have three clumps of sarcococca, which has a shiny surface, smells beautiful, a bit later on. It is an invaluable evergreen shrub, loved by me, even though I keep saying I don’t like shrubs. The two sarcococca in the par terre are enormous, and we have to keep them within bounds. 21st December is the shortest day, and I already feel my spirits lifting. It is so important to think about your garden in winter, and that means thinking about structure in the design. We went to dinner at Upton Wold last night, and they had floodlighted a huge chestnut tree, which had rooted itself down and was really quite spectacular. In England you have to be careful what you light, but that worked beautifully.
I have just had Thomas and Anya and Nicholas staying. I made Thomas scrub one of my stone balls on the wall, and I must say it looks much better. I don’t like them getting too green.