2019 Part 1 – A Year in Words and Many Photographs: Winter.

January 20, 2020
Where does time go? Barely have I finished buying seeds for 2019 than it’s time to plan for a new year – a new decade in fact.

One of the advantages of taking so many photos is that at least there is a visual record, a story of sorts, of a whirlwind year.


This could actually be my favourite month. There are very few flowers, no classes, no weddings, and it’s a time to be quiet and rest up, and read all of the books that never got read on a beach in summer. Sometimes I like to go on a class and learn something new too, and this year it was basic upholstery. I’m chuffed to bits with a large footstool made at a class with the ever patient Sue Marsden of Tuffet Stools over in Bentham, North Yorkshire. Alan Bennett lives nearby…..sadly, no sighting.

I venture down to London Town to meet a lovely bride who takes me off to two historically significant buildings and tells me she trusts me to do anything I like.


The second visit of the year to the garden at Cambo (the first having been made on New Year’s Day). This time the snowdrops are out, albeit submerged under a thick blanket of hoar frost. I bring some of the common variety home to cheer me up. I can’t afford the expensive, smells-like-honey with exquisite internal markings one that I’d really like, well, not to put indoors in a pot.

I finally give in and buy in a few spring flowers, and scavenge in the greenhouse for tiny bits of Pelargonium and Erigeron. I have a pen friend in Seoul and we send each other postcards with various pieces of interesting news, cultural information  and flowery photos. The only problem is that her flowers are breathtakingly beautiful and I never manage to do anything good enough to send. This little bowl just about passes my own, self-imposed, taste test. “Why do the English like gardens so much?”, she asks me. “Probably so they can show off to their friends”, I reply.


 We restart our classes, and the one that I grow to love most is one on flowers and photography which I do with the photographer Sarah Mason. This year, Jo and Karen join us for four classes (one in each season) and we do a few postcards each to illustrate the important elements of making bouquets and taking great photos. Obviously things get a lot more exciting once we get going, and we even plan a surprise ‘away’ trip.

As spring gets underway, the fascination with fritillaries gets stronger and the leftovers from each week’s classes provide me with a few ‘mindful moments’ by the kitchen sink on Saturday afternoons. A friend tells me about the Fortunately With Fi and Jane podcast; they make me laugh a lot. I wonder what they would think of Epimediums……