The weather forecast having just indicated that there would be little chance of seeing the sun yesterday I was taken aback to then hear a reference on the radio yesterday to the poem ‘November’, by Thomas Hood – ‘No sun…. no warmth, no cheerfulness …… no flowers, no leaves, no birds….’ etc and felt almost affronted by the suggestion that there was nothing whatsoever in November to bring any joy. Admittedly poor Thomas did not enjoy the best of health, our winters do come later and are milder than those of the early nineteenth century and there certainly are still flowers and leaves and birds in our gardens in much of the UK – but even without the presence of the sun if we have warmth and cheerfulness in our hearts we can be joyous all the year round.
What made it strike home all the more was that yesterday was in truth the most pleasant of days (here, at least), the mildness after several days of relatively low temperatures bringing out that lovely wholesome earthy smell of damp gardens and emphasising the contrast between decay and new growth. Despite the milder night, fresh falls of leaves lay around the feet of many trees and shrubs, leaving distinct patches of varied shape and colour – clockwise from above top left are magnolia, Vitis vinifera ‘Purpurea’, Hydrangea petiolaris and hazel – whilst many others like the old plum trees and the field maples (left) in the woodland still cling to their thin green coats like teenagers on a winter night out (and just look at that beech behind…..gorgeous……).
The joyous November afternoon was perfect for planting the additions that the Golfer had forced me to buy at the weekend (dare I mention H*****ores…?), and in doing so I was thrilled to find a decent clump of snowdrops pushing their way out of the soil and anxiously wanting to get going with next year’s display – if I hadn’t been so liberal with the compost a week or two ago there would be many similar clumps readily visible, I am sure. These ones were in the woodland edge border, so I did then allow myself a gentle dabble in the species snowdrop border and was well satisfied to see promising green spears of many little beauties under their warm composty duvets. Further good news – after Pauline told me about the progress of her Hellebore ‘Winter Moonbeam’ I looked again, and several inches away from the label found a rather battered leaf* of my own specimen – all is not lost!