Christmas is over. All that expectation and hard work, and then sometimes disappointment. I have been doing three days of gardening, I dont often venture out in December, but it is so mild. Today all the aconites are flowering, so many different snowdrops, and even anemone blanda Burghaltii, the very deep blue one that I am always mentioning. Rupert Goldby gave me the most beautiful cream double hellebore when he came to lunch, and it is still not planted. I know where it is going and I will do it tomorrow. On Christmas Day we went to the Sung Eucharist at Christ Church Cathedral in Oxford. In the queue out side before the service I got to talking with two most charming Irish parents of a musical scholar who was in the choir. They said that their drawing room in Glasgow was crammed with a piano, organ and other musical instruments. They were both doctors and one a was a neurologist. I love people who are brilliant in what they do. Their son sang a solo in the service, and really had the voice of an angel. We have got my friend Lizzie Wilson staying, and my younger son Thomas arrives late this afternoon.
I wonder if it is a coincidence but almost everything in the paddock has winter interest. We have just planted Prunus subhirtella autumnalis, and it is flowering in its first year. Exciting. The red catkins on Alnus Cordata, and the red stems of Tilia Winter Orange make a very Christmassy statement, by that I mean red. We have four Magnolia on the left hand side and they are laden with buds. Where we have planted them they will not get caught by a frost. It is lovely having the dogs with us at Christmas, James will insist on feeding them treats, and Temba’s digestion is not up to it! We are going to Cambridge just after New Year, and I hardly know it, and it is going to be wonderful. It has the best Botanic Winter Garden there which might give me some ideas. At least we do not have to get stuck at Gatwick. I will let you know if it comes up to expectations.