21st November, 2018

It is cold now and all the leaves are down. The garden is north facing and now the sun has come out I can see all the orange berries still on Sorbus Joseph Rock and on the left Malus Hupehensis, red ones, which were on my photos last week. The funny little Spindleberry in the paddock has turned a very beautiful red. All its branches are twisted as if it is embracing itself. I have quite a sweet photo of my grandson, Nicholas, sitting in it. No wonder about five years ago Polly and I started planting named snowdrops in the beds close to the back door of the kitchen. There are masses of them now, and it is a real uplifting of the spirits when they come up and start flowering. All the aconites that we have, which start flowering after Christmas, have scattered themselves around, and now there are masses. Several people have told me that they find them difficult, I don’t know why.

Christopher Lloyd described Dianthus Doris as being unbelievably common. But here I have her at the foot of a wall, flowering away! Nothing wrong in that. In the circle, second one, in the paddock, I have a small clump of snowdrops bravely flowering. I went to look at them, and heard my enemy, the pheasants, making an awful noise. One year they ate all the heads of my Crocus Vernus. Vanguard off. Tensing is doing his intermittent bark, he will drive me crazy! Temba has found yet another mouse, I think it is completely in James’s imagination that the owls take them..

I got carried away and have ordered 300 Crocus tommasianus Yalta. It is so pretty, I am going to have three pools of it on the crocus lawn. Robin Lane Fox was talking last weekend in the Saturday Financial Times about Chanticleer, where my friend Eric works, and said that pools of crocus look better than en masse. I think he is right. We are talking about February when they all appear, in the little semi circle at the bottom of the steps. Now that will really be something to look forward to, and it is not very long off. It is Delphinium Clifford Pink, second flowering.

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