On Wednesday I am giving a gardening lunch party. It is for my friend Sibylle Kreutzberger. I was so nervous of her when I first met her. Probably because I felt she knew such a lot, but she has been nothing but charming and funny with me. Clive is coming, Victoria Wakefield, Simon Bagnall, Rupert Goldby, Sue Dickinson, Polly, Colin, James, Karen Abel Smith, and me. James is cross with me as he thinks I have asked too many people and they wont go round the table. It will be fine though. I am really looking forward to it.
Today is cold and sunny, and looking around my garden I have never seen the hellebores look more beautiful. They have already been flowering for a month and are not damaged in any sort of way. They have escaped the mice this year, probably because of a black cat who has attached itself to me, though I have not seen it for a while. We always take the leaves off in November, and though have lost a few to the black death we have many that have come from Ashwood nursery and Elizabeth Strangman. Sometimes I find the yellow ones a bit more tricky than others but they are worth persevering with. Our aconites are blowing all over the place and increasing a lot since we have first come here, which is a long time now, about 40 years. They are so lovely and they go over well.
I look round the garden I notice all my crocuses and think that they are well worth planting. What else is going on in February, and they seem to be doing better than usual. I think my favourite has to be Yalta, and they seem to cope better with grass as they are quite chunky and more robust. I cannot recommend it more. It seems to increase well. This afternoon Michael Heseltine has invited us over to see his snowdrops which I am looking forward to, though I cannot bring myself to pay very much for a snowdrop, as whenever I do it is a disaster. We had a wonderful time going to the Rococo snowdrop garden last month, as it was beautifully laid out with plenty of follies, in fact quite charming. It is rather wonderful to have plenty of things to do even in January. My spirits are lifting as I feel we are getting near the end of Winter.