We are lucky here in Southern England because no matter how harsh the winter, there are always plants that are happy to flower. As the snow disperses, my two urns of primroses immediately reward me with one of those signs of hope that I look for in gardening.
Also those hanging baskets are alive with their smartly uniformed primulas, the primroses’ vulgar cousins. When they finished flowering last Spring, I hid them under some shrubs in the darkest corner where they slept until now.
Familiar objects are returning to normal after their snowy wrapping but I resisted drawing a face on the perfectly smooth covering on the garden table. Maybe it is the ideal setting for a Marguerite cocktail party with those glasses snuggled in the snow at a perfect temperature.
The snow is hanging on at the coldest end of the garden and next to the shed grows not only this vibrant urn of primroses but also my red camellia which was already beginning to open its buds before the snow fell. I was concerned for its survival.
Up at this end of the garden too is a patch of golden croci (or crocuses if you insist) which are pushing their way up through the frozen soil with the determination that I admire every year in persistent winter flowering bulbs.
The wallflowers which will not flower for three or four months are showing that bright and bushy look which justifies their presence in a winter garden. Just when everything else seems to be hibernating, the wallflowers have an unashamedly excited friskiness which I find infectious.
It is of course time to say goodbye to some old friends too. The dahlias have blackened over night and those nasturtiums which were still in full bloom a week ago have now succumbed to the way of all flesh.
There is nothing so spent as a frosted nasturtium as it wilts on the site of its former glory. Its seeds are spent however and next year it will be back bouncing with new life. This little garden too will keep telling me that lesson as already I am seeing future season in the wreckage of the old.