At this time of year the best part of the garden is the par-terre. Polly has lifted all the dahlias and planted the Triumph tulips in their place. We don’t usually repeat the colour combination each year but it was so lovely that we have. From my bedroom window I can see a haze of red at the bottom on the left which are the berries of Malus Hupehensis, The whole garden after getting to the end of the main lawn, slopes downhill which adds to the drama of what you have planted. In the paddock the avenue of Malus Transitoria has turned a lovely colour with tiny little orange berries, and on the left is what Polly and I call my Magnolia grove. These are already flowering and growing well, probably because I have good soil there, Where the two lime trees came down in Storm Aileen, we have planted Prunus subhirtella autumnalis, I have always wanted to grow this and finally have a good place for it. The winter can be so bleak and long that the more structure and winter interest that you have the better. I have started about five years ago planting a few named snowdrops, and the more they increase and the earlier they come up is always exciting. Quite a few people have been sweet enough to give me some, and I love it in gardening that you always remember who gave you what. Eventually your garden becomes rather like a personal diary of plants.
My friend and neighbour, Harriet Baring, I am now quite proud of her garden. After six years, with Polly and I helping her with ideas and plants. Initially I told her that I was only going to help her if she took everything out. No one was more amazed than me when she did. But there she is in the middle of fields with sheep, duck (I dont like them, they chased my dogs) and not even a telegraph pole to look at. Harriet and Justin, with the help of one day a week Ronald, have looked after it very well. Next summer I will put on some photos of her garden.