THE WINTER GARDEN...
As I write this blog post, it is still very early and dark outside, and it feels like the rest of the world are still asleep. I am most definitely a morning person and at my most productive early on in the day, so try to grab this opportunity to get things done!
Snug in the warmth (and still in my pyjamas I confess!) with candles lit and a hot cup of tea, it is a slightly more miserable picture outside. Yes, you guessed it, more rain forecast. Oh how we long for warmer, sunnier days and for getting out in the garden!
Realistically though, Spring really is just around the corner, and we gardeners need to make the most of these dormant days to maybe be productive inside, plan our gardens and projects, or just be kind to ourselves and enjoy a bit of down time in the warmth, without the pressure of the busy growing season.
Last week, some snow finally came to Kent! On and off for the last few weeks, the rest of the country have been enjoying their beautiful snowy landscapes, while we in the south have been looking on enviously, or at least I have! I love a bit of snow to at least make Winter feel...well... more wintery!
Now we're not talking much snow....certainly not enough to get the skis and sledges out...but we woke the other morning to a beautiful light dusting which always makes the garden look a little magical in my eyes.
When Mr. W and I built our home and started designing and creating our garden ten years ago, it was a priority for us both for the two to integrate with one another harmoniously.
(this striking stainless steel 'sculpture' was a special big birthday present to me from 'Mr W'...)
With large expanses of glass overlooking the garden, it was important that the areas surrounding the house had 'good bones', providing structure and interest even in the depths of winter.
Although some areas are still yet to reach full maturity, and others are still a work in progress, I feel this year, that things are finally coming together, and we are achieving the vision that we first set out to create.
By planting areas of hedging in either Yew, Hornbeam or Portuguese Laurel, we have endeavoured to create 'rooms' within the garden.
Large bold flower beds (mainly filled in summer with my favourite Roses, Agapanthus and White Hydrangea) and paths are lined with boxwood hedging, and terraces and lawns are punctuated with Box or Portuguese Laurel topiary balls.
Some of you who have followed this blog for some time, or who follow my instagram @sophiahomelifestyle will know that this has proved a little compulsive for me? Some girls like shoes (actually I love those too!) and some have an obsession with topiary...oh well, there are worse addictions in life I suppose!
This sheltered seating area overlooking the 'kitchen lawn' is flanked by Yew hedging which in time will be gradually clipped in to large square topiary blocks...
View back to the 'kitchen deck'...an almost mature Portuguese Laurel hedge providing interest and more importantly a wind break, around the seated deck area. Portuguese Laurel topiary balls add interest to the flat lawn...
Wearing the remains of their autumn foliage, these pleached Hornbeams should be really quite good this year. Starting just five years ago as whispy young saplings, they will form a beautiful bold green block with a 'window view' of the landscape beyond this summer.
This old boy (near 16!) has seen a few snow falls in his time...
But for 'Miss Delilah', it was all rather exciting!
I adore 'Silver Birch' and these are just a few from a little copse of some forty or so trees that we have planted at a distance at the back of our main lawn, just before you reach the paddock. Their beautiful white bark standing out strikingly against the grey winter landscape.
I think it's only fair to put in a disclaimer at this stage and say I have had nothing to do with all this heavy planting! Although I like to think I put in my fair share of work in the garden, in the form of design input, planting of bulbs and flowers and my beloved kitchen garden) all credit goes to 'Mr. W' who has back breakingly landscaped 2.5 acres of land from scratch that started out as a few boggy fields and a car park. No mean feat!
The old abandoned chicken house from a few years ago...how I miss not having chickens...but not the devastating carnage that we so often had when Mr. Fox came round, especially at this hungry time of year. Maybe again one day, when we get round to building them a fortified home!
No ice on the pond today. Future plans on the ever growing 'garden list' are to work on this area and try to create something special. I'm thinking beautiful pond plants around the edge, a small deck jetty and summerhouse and maybe even a duck house in the middle? What do you think?
Our majestic Oak...so lucky to have inherited this beautiful tree on this land. Underplanted with hundreds of Daffodils which excitingly are just poking their heads through, should be a sea of yellow in no time at all. Nine Yew plants have also recently been planted in a circle around its perimeter, with the intention to gradually topiarise these in to striking flat topped 'barrels'. It may take a few years...patience is a virtue in gardening isn't it? Not my forte!
Always lovely to find Snowdrops in the garden...
Dreaming of warmer days, entertaining friends and family, when we can all be outside on the deck in the sunshine....
...but for now, I shall enjoy sitting inside in the warmth, planning our next projects.
Now where's that topiary book?
Now where's that topiary book?
Wishing you a lovely day...