A Seasonal Show…In early January, winter brings an ethereal beauty to my garden. There’s something magical about waking up and walking to the window, peeking through the curtains to find the view transformed by my garden blanketed with snow and more continuing to fall. Shrouded in the January snowfall, the garden and woods display a riot of brown stems and twigs and the winter bark of bare trees sagging under the weight of pure white snow. The shapes of the trees against a gray winter sky are a few of the moody aspects of a winter’s tale…in my garden.

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I loved being snowed in for the DAY with my books, my writing, my view of the garden where white flower-like clusters of winter berries and seedheads, covered in frozen snow, sparkle like precious gems.  I keep the birds well supplied with seeds, nuts, bread crumbs, suet and even a few flakes of leftover cheese. Fresh tracks across the deck and railing are erased by more snowfall…and a winters day soon becomes a frozen night…Taking stock the next morning, the woods and country lane are quiet, with curls of chimney smoke the only sign that people are around. Time to pull on the Wellies, wrap up in Carl’s old Faconnable barn coat and cashmere scarf, the memory of him wearing it on a winter walk,  I cannot bring myself to give it away…and get outside to explore with Holly.

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Gathering…The next morning a snowy mist shrouds the woods beyond the house until sunlight breaks through…finally. Time outside spent finding pine cones, sticks and fallen branches that I’d piled up near the old coop, and covered with a tarp, will provide great  starter and kindling material for the fire I want to lay for the evening as the deep night cold begins again…it’s good exercise breaking dry sticks into kindling and piling them by the back door. With a clear night and stars bejeweling  the sky, the temp drops to 12 degrees.

Winter Warmer…After working outside on a winter day, walking inside I can smell the earthy flavor of root vegetables simmered slowly for several hours with wine and olive oil…Winter food should be as comforting as a cashmere sweater and the root vegetables cooking in the oven add a touch of Mediterranean sunshine to any winter day. Options to include: butternut squash, onions, garlic, sweet potatoes, parsnips, carrots, tiny potatoes, some olives and herbs such as rosemary and sage…

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…to follow the vegetables, small chicken breasts sauced with the pan drippings and butter scraped up with cream. Later, a simple winter pleasure…a glass of Ampere and a sliver of old-fashioned hazelnut brittle, made a few days ago, to nibble by the fireside, tucked into my favorite wing chair pushed just close enough to warm my toes.

In my garden each season has its rhythms and joys…and there is something very inspirational about plants that choose to flower when our winter days are at their coldest and darkest. They may not be as flamboyant as the blooms in a spring to summer garden, but their presence reminds me that life will soon return to my garden…I am drawn to the unusual  colors and delicate speckled veined and spotted centers found on the blooms of HELLEBORES. When little else is happening, these seductive flowers create a fresh buzz! It’s incredibly exciting as they come into bloom, often peeking out from under a light snowfall. They have become one of my very favorite evergreen plants. Autumn ferns provide a lacy background and companion to the large patch of hellebores in my front garden by the gravel drive.

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FEED THE BIRDS, ESPECIALLY WHEN SNOW COVERS THE GROUND…

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Chilly winter days call for a few indulgent treats…this is my almond and orange Victoria Sponge, see recipe for cake in 2016 posts, add fresh squeezed orange juice, zest and some ground almonds on top.

bookwineIt could be melancholy but the charm of snow covering the ground is all the more alluring as I enjoy a quiet evening with Holly on the rug by my feet…

Till next time my friends…

 

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