There is an emanation from the heart

which cannot be described,

but is immediately felt and puts

the stranger at his ease.

~Washington Irving

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life.
It turns what we have into enough...

.........and more.

It turns denial into acceptance,
chaos to order, confusion to clarity.

It can turn a meal into a feast,

a house into a home,

a stranger into a friend.

~Melody Beattie

Don't be satisfied with stories,

how things have gone with others.

Unfold your own myth.

May my life be like a great

hospitable tree, and may

weary wanderers find in

me a rest.

~John Henry Jowett

Thursday, 18 December 2014

All Tucked in for Winter

"I prefer winter and fall, when you feel 
the bone structure  of the landscape.....
Something waits beneath it.  
The whole story doesn't show."   
~Andrew Wyath 

A soggy, drippy morning.
When I went out to pick herbs this morning, the rain was coming down in buckets, streaming down windows, and clogging up drains and eaves, so I had to make a run for it with my umbrella.  When I came back into the kitchen I heard part of the M25 had collapsed from rain and I thought, 'Here we go'!  The winter of 2014-15 is well under way.  I looked at my sodden pansies and all the moss making headway again and knew it was truly time to tuck the garden in for it's winter's sleep. It was time to say goodbye to my flowers and get those bulbs sitting on my garden bench planted--they were definitely not going to plant themselves.  But how to do it in the kind of deluge that collapses motorways?

By noon though the trifecta I had been waiting for finally happened--the skies cleared, the sun came out, and I had an afternoon free. I couldn't get out to my garden fast enough.

Our garden is separate from the house, surrounded by a tall hedge and accessed though a little gate, so there are days I don't even set eyes on it.  I also hadn't done any garden clean-up since Gonzalo blew through, so I had no idea what would greet me.  But I pulled on my wellies, scooted Max out the door with me, garden gloves and daffodil bulbs in hand.

What greeted me when I opened the
gate and walked up the flagstone steps
wasn't so bad.  Max and I would have
it sorted in a couple of hours.

My pineapple sage was in full
bloom, with it's beautiful red spikes.

And now with the trees stripped of their leaves,
one of my favorite things about our garden
was shining there, in it's full glory--
the college towers that surround our garden.

New College Tower backdrop
and an ivy geranium heading
into it's second winter.

As I raked and Max patrolled the 
garden, the Harris Manchester 
clock tower kept time for us.

"The Spirits of the air live on the smells
Of fruit; and joy, with pinions light, 
Roves round the gardens,
Or sits singing in the trees"
~William Blake

It didn't take long to rake up a gargantuan pile of lavatera, hollyhock stalks, allyssum skeletons, rose thorns, and lavender, along with the millions of leaves that fell from overhead, down from the ancient walnut tree that is the master caretaker of our garden.

Then it was time to clean out my summerhouse and close it up for the winter. Lingering spiders were banished, my desk tidied up, garden tools tucked away neatly in their basket, and windows shut tight.  

There used to be several, small, 17th century cottages standing where our garden and parking area is today. Because of this, every time I dig to plant flowers or bulbs, our garden actually gives back!  I'm always finding small pieces of transferware and pottery, and even an ancient, encrusted door hinge that must be several hundred years old.  Each one is carefully wiped off and added to my growing collection in the summerhouse. 

Last winter we had a guest come and stay with us whose grandmother was born in one of the cottages.  I love it when history comes alive, even in our back garden.

As dusk fell and the shadows lengthened over the college towers, Max and I finished up.  The garden is now put to bed for the winter, the bulbs are planted, and the summerhouse is clean and tidy.  It will be out there all winter safe and snug, quietly waiting for the spring~which always comes.

"Winter is in my head, 
but eternal spring is in my heart."
~Victor Hugo

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