Thursday, 3 January 2008

Chesters under snow

It's January 3rd and I took this picture of the garden under snow just half an hour ago; as I write this blog there is more snow falling outside the window. I love the strong lines of hedges and topiary outlined by the white, the self sown pampas grass on the left and the undulating branches of the walnut tree. A hungry robin followed me about, waiting to snatch up any grub that was disturbed by my boots amongst the leaves. We've raked up all the leaves off the lawn so that they don't spoil the grass and used them to refill the leafmould bin or to rot down into a thick mulch on the shrub border at the bottom of the walled garden. There are still some leaves on the gravel paths to rake up when the weather is right - the leafmould they will make will be used on the vegetable garden to enhance the soil structure. It's gorgeous stuff, crumbly, fibrous and rich red brown in colour.

The two trees that look really wonderful at this time of year are the mahogany coloured Prunus serrula, a Tibetan cherry, and the creamy barked Betula jacquemontiae. Visitors love to run their hands over the rich red bark of the cherry. The famous gardener E A Bowles is said to have polished his.

I don't think it needs polishing as the bark is so shiny anyway but I do wash the green algae off the birch tree before we re-open in March. At this time of the year though, the soft watercolour tones of the green have a subtle charm against the snow. Snow can be a mixed blessing; a light dusting like this transforms the winter garden, too much and shrubby herbs can be broken under its weight, box hedges damaged so I hope for moderation!

1 comment:

Sandy said...

What a lovely atmospheric photograph of the garden. January can be a magical month particularly if you have a variety of trees with wonderful barks. The light dusting of frost or snow really brings a landscape to life in a way you never see at any other time of the year somehow.

Good luck with the preparations for 2008 garden opening.