It is not that the garden does not look good, because every year the structure improves and the bulbs increase, and Polly has mulched almost every border with dark black compost, but it is the flat grey light that gets to me. However it makes me very grateful for the winter light when it does emerge. When I look at my borders almost all of them have several hellebores in, which are not apparent during the summer. But in the summer we have nothing that flowers for three months which hellebores do. Ashwood nurseries are particularly good, and you can order them on line, and there is quite a difference in price according to their age and whether you are willing to be patient. I think we are going in the magazine The English Garden next month with some stunning photographs by Clive Nichols., I look forward to seeing which they choose. Think of planting Chaenomeles nivalis which is very pretty, with all the flowers along bare stems, and now it has got a lot colder we might have to wait a bit for them to open. I have a golden Cornus Mas which is struggling to open. My little dog Tensing is improving a bit, and though his head is still in a ruff, I have tried taking it off for a short while successfully. I have got Mark Griffiths coming to lunch today, and Polly and I have been laughing that it is like being in preparation for royalty. I love walking round with him there is not a single thing that he does not spot!
We have been working hard cuttting back here because we are worried that a cold snap might arrive with us. Matt is preparing all my benches and two chairs for the coming season. They all badly needed some attention, and the three benches are all being repainted. I have tried that once and never again, it took so long, and I have decided it is better to give the job to a professional. We have planted 300 crocus Yalta and I am full of anticipation. It is really special.