January 23, 2019

Caroline’s Garden Diaries : My Own Country 7.3.13

And here I am, back in Sand Hutton and very pleased that the snowdrops are still flowering, in fact they’re looking marvellous all over the garden. Less pleased about the reason they’re still out, i.e. that it’s COLD here, and after all that sunshine and frangipani, life’s a bit grey.

However, when I switch into English gardening mode – taking pleasure in small things (Bill Bryson says the English get excited about digestive biscuits) – there are some lovely things here. The hellebores especially are gorgeous, in all sorts of colours and markings. I read somewhere recently that the self-sown seedlings they produce in abundance will not be worth keeping but not so here: last year I planted out lots of the babies round the garden, several have flowered and all are beautiful.

Viburnam bodnantense is also still out, flowers looking like snow on the bare branches, and the winter iris still going. Primroses are getting going, though the birds have also noticed them so they’re a bit tatty; crocuses, not open – they need sun to do that – but showing colour; winter honeysuckle is in full flower, smelling delicious.

And all the time looking round the garden I haven’t seen for six weeks, I have this song in my head, a setting by Peter Warlock of Hilaire Belloc’s poem “My Own Country”, which includes the lines

“I shall pass through many places
That I cannot understand
Until I come to my own country,
Which is a pleasant land.”

Strictly speaking, the poem probably celebrates Sussex, and the hellebores come from Asia, and no doubt there are issues about native/non-native still to be sorted, but I’m tired, and just glad to be back home in my own garden.

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