It’s freezing cold and even with the heating on I’m wearing furry boots indoors. In spite of this, I love the winter countryside. This morning I drove to my usual garden centre to check out greenhouses (20% off until the end of January). The bleached look of the fields; the neatly trimmed hedges of a well managed countryside, russet where beech leaves hang on; black tree outlines; subtle greens and browns everywhere. These are the real colours of winter. I’ll have no truck with ‘winter gardens’ full of gaudy dogwood stems and phormiums; nor with claustrophobic conifers and heathers. No need to pretend that winter is actually some other season. I’d rather see the bare bones for a while and surely snowdrops, hellebores and a few select winter-flowering shrubs should be enough for anybody?
While I was at the garden centre I bought some hyacinths (white, of course) in a pot, so that I can enjoy watching them grow and eventually catch that wonderful scent. When I told the man in charge of greenhouses that I’d just moved he said, ‘Where’r yew tew now then?’ I like that. It’s strange that I’ve only moved a mile from my old house yet feel so much more in the country.