There’s a tradition among gardeners who live where December is a dark and cold month to go out on Christmas Day and gather what they find in bloom. The morning of Christmas Eve, I had great hopes for the next day’s collection: the weather was unseasonably fine, and the warmth and sunshine were sure to nudge the mahonia blossoms open. They would join the snowdrops and winter jasmine (not so out of line) the rosemary and the purple mallow (that last completely out of season), catkins on the Harry Lauder’s walking stick (Corylus ‘Contorta’ – not at all showy, but they count), and my newest winter treasure, the Christmas Rose, Helleborus niger, which had been easing into bloom for the last week.
The plan was to go out and photograph them all, as soon as the light was strong enough – but we woke up to chilly rain and general gloom outdoors. All the better to make a fire and stay indoors, toast Queen Elizabeth (four-fifths of the family are British citizens, after all) and finally open the presents under the tree. So for this year at least we’ll have to make do with pictures of the hellebore that’s almost there, and take my word for the rest. And this – last January’s holly (sorry, no ivy in the photo archives).
Up next: Twelve Days of Christmas, maybe something like this:
Twelve hours of driving;
Eleventh hour packing;
Tendency to tear up;
Nine years of memories;
Eight hours of sleep? Ha!
Seven more days would be great,
Six days I might could live with.
Five of us for the road.
Four days with the movers here;
Three pets in the van;
Two cars drive North,
With one big adventure ahead.
I’ll be back here in the New Year. See you all then.