I’m good at it; very good at it, I’m told – at being miserable, that is! I put it down to practice and, as you have heard, practice makes perfect so, yes, I am perfectly miserable!
The flu came on the 20th of December and, though the dramatic misery has passed, it now lingers with a heavy head cold. Christmas was cancelled – the turkey was put into the freezer – and our son and family told to stay away for the good of their health. Our youngest son, unfortunately for him, had already arrived and was stuck with us and endured Christmas in our dismal company – I say “our” for Mary was also struck down and spent Christmas Day in bed.
Disappointment is in proportion to expectation but, while I always look forward to Christmas and really enjoy it, I was not disappointed by this turn of events except for the fact I was sorry our son had to suffer also. Fortunately, he didn’t contact the flu and was able to make a reasonably quick return to his own base, better company and the opportunity to celebrate with loved one and friends.
On the home front, the garden front, I have been outside on several days when the weather allowed. The weather has been very wet and such days are to be treasured and enjoyed. Before Christmas I had begun pruning trees around the garden, those with lower branches spreading out horizontally and encroaching on shrubs underneath. This lifting of the canopy – lifting the skirts, as I have heard it called – allows light into the ground beneath trees and makes it easier to garden there. Liquidamber, birch, lime, Paulownia, an apple tree and a few maples were the main targets and now look far better to my eye. The prunings have all been shredded and added to the compost bin – about a cubic metre of material! – so I have been very diligent and feel I am now on top of my job!
The Biking Gardener wrote today on winter plants – mainly shrubs and trees: witch hazels, winter-flowering cherries, a selection of holly cultivars, the beautifully fragrant Lonicera x purpusii and the beautifully colourful Alnus incana ‘Aurea’. The gardener does not lose interest in gardening in winter and wishes to have something of interest and beauty, as well as the necessary work, to draw him/her outdoors in these darker days. I liked all his suggestions, except the cherries which have never warmed my heart greatly, and suggested the addition of Garrya – there is Garrya elliptica ‘James Roof’ and Garrya x issaquahensis ‘Glasnevin Wine’ both of which are attractive shrubs and flower at this time of the year.
In our garden, winter is snowdrop time. We have been growing them for about twenty five years and they have grown in number and in variety over that time so we now have snowdrops in flower from October to March. They brighten up the winter garden and when I look at them I am less miserable – and that’s quite an achievement for any plant!
Best wishes for the New Year! Happy Gardening etc.