hope springs eternal

January 2, 2021

I hang my head in shame – refuse to blame covid or indeed political issues – and promise myself that in 2021 I must try harder . . .

to think about and organise and produce more posts to keep sane and hopeful. Today, January 2nd, it’s cold, windy and a tad grey – even here in the south of France – as the photo shows, but I appreciate the composition in the quickly snapped photo of the upper garden, the fore shortening and pixelation both of which have given the image an abstract quality. I appreciate and revel in the tones . . .

. . . as in the big view, the tones in winter are more beautiful and harmonious than in other seasons. The vines are mostly pruned and stand silently like battalions waiting to charge . . .

shame about the turquoise plastic collars around the new plants but they add a touch of something . . .

a cluster of poplars by the stream have the similar quiet attributes of clematis still now after scrambling along the verges – the fluffy seedheads still hanging on . . .

. . . returning home this winter musing is thrown up in the air like a jugglers ball when the persimmon greets me and shouts out ‘always to be blest’.

“Hope” is the thing with feathers –
That perches in the soul –
And sings the tune without the words –
And never stops – at all –

And sweetest – in the Gale – is heard –
And sore must be the storm –
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm –

I’ve heard it in the chillest land –
And on the strangest Sea –
Yet – never – in Extremity,
It asked a crumb – of me. Emily Dickinson

cynara3

The Great Dixter Christmas Fair is held this weekend. After a wander around the stalls set up in the house, a chance to wander around the garden for the last time this year – for most of us anyway. In the Barn Garden, the fig, now bare, stretched out to take as much of the winter sun as possible is a thing of great beauty . . .

fig 1

fig 2 barn garden

. . I find the piles of compost and mulches and the stacks of felled timber equally beautiful in a functional sense.

compost

wood

The clipped buxus by the front of the house have a melodious form. Fergus has tackled a hebe in a similar manner; I’m not sure about this aesthetically or is the formal European treatment of a New Zealander that disconcerts me?  Interesting though. Looking through the archive, I find a post from last November (written a couple of weeks earlier in the month) where a shot of the oast and the border in the Blue Garden is almost identical . . .

front

blue garden

hovel

. . . Dixter is a strange mix of the vernacular and the strength of form and texture in the planting – some contemporary. Very close to the hovel (above) in the Exotic Garden is a great explosion of foliage and vertical, soft and furry buds on a tetrapanax. No sign of the new dogs today, but Titch was around craving attention and receiving much affection. . .

tetrapanax

titch

towards cat garden

. .  across the Cat Garden, behind the Long Border, seedheads are slowly turning to biscuit tones . . .

teazels

long border

. .   but the Long Border itself still has spots of colourful fruits and lingering flowerheads – delicate in composition. And opposite, the mulberry too shows delicacy in its form and texture.

morus

As does this grouping in the corner of the Vegetable Garden looking across the Orchard . . .

from veg garden to orchard

. . .  by the Horse Pond, great stands of gunnera slowly collapsing after their performance. Applause and much appreciation.

gunnera 1

horse pond 2

What’s green is going, taking

with it the last hiding-places

of the light, its spills

and splashes.

The trunk of the one wild cherry

ink black, like the swan’s neck,

its leaves sharp scarlet beaks.

The land’s flayed bare by its reckonings

with the century –

torn off a strip,

like the sod that Private Harry Farr

stops under.

The moon pins its white square

of flannel over the heart.

Dawn drips its slate-light

across the field,

scratches another name

on its sum of wonders.  Alison Fell    November (6)    Lightyear

(Harry Farr was a young Yorkshire soldier shot in Flanders for so-called desertion)

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