The ground is slowly beginning to wake up. Golden aconites seem to be spreading everywhere. Each time I see them my heart lifts, particularly because others find them difficult! The good thing about them is that they die more gracefully than snowdrops, which don’t die well at all. In my paddock circles Anemone ingramii, bright blue, is already showing. It is always earlier than the other anemones. I really love them for the same reason as they are so early and go over well. I have seen the odd crocus already although I can’t pretend that I am hugely successful with them considering how long I have been persevering with them. You cant get away from the fact that you need good structure in the winter, though my Salix irrorata is not doing what I thought it would do when I saw it at the Cambridge Botanic Garden last January! The only thing I would say is that when you are only an acre and a half like me, you have to remember that after Winter you are following on with Spring, Summer and Autumn. Someone came to see the garden once and said ‘I have not seen so many small trees”, and I remember feeling quite annoyed. It was probably true. The other thing Polly and I have to put up with is remarks about Spanish bluebells.
In the paddock all our five magnolias are coming in to bud and look very happy. I think Magnolias are the aristocrats of small trees. James and I are going to Seville for a week at the end of February, I dont quite know how we settled on that but I am excited. We are also going to Córdoba which is only half an hour away by train. I will probably see a lot of orange trees doing well, whereas mine in Corfu are a travesty! Whenever I am growing something really badly I cant bear to look at it and I want to rip it out. The best bit of news is that the days are getting longer.