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Columbia Road Market 75

January 29, 2012
by the gentle author

“No enemy but winter and rough weather…”

Every year at this time – the low ebb of the seasons – I go to Columbia Rd to buy potted bulbs and winter-flowering plants which I replant into my collection of old pots from the market and arrange upon the oak dresser, to observe their growth at close quarters and thereby gain solace and inspiration until my garden shows convincing signs of new life.

Each morning, I drag myself from bed – still coughing and wheezing from winter chills – and stumble to the dresser in my pyjamas like one in a holy order paying due reverence to an altar. When the grey gloom of morning feels unremitting, the musky scent of hyacinth or the delicate fragrance of the cyclamen is a tonic to my system, tangible evidence that the season of green leaves and abundant flowers will return. When plant life is scarce, my flowers in pots that I bought for just a few pounds each at Columbia Rd acquire a magical allure for me, an enchanted quality confirmed by the speed of their growth in the warmth of the house, and I delight to have this collection of diverse varieties in dishes to wonder at, as if each one were a unique specimen from an exotic land.

And once they have flowered, I place these plants in a cold corner of the house until I can replant them in the garden. As a consequence, my clumps of Hellebores and Snowdrops are expanding every year and thus I get to enjoy my plants at least twice over – at first on the dresser and in subsequent years growing in my garden.

Staffordshire figure of Orlando from “As You Like It.”

7 Responses leave one →
  1. January 29, 2012

    Thank you for that. The fine collection of pots cheered me almost as much as the flowers themselves on this Sunday morning which is, here, the first truly cold day of this Winter.

  2. January 29, 2012

    fantastic! Photos look great and LOVE those colourful pots!

  3. Gary permalink
    January 29, 2012

    I hope that your fine collection of pots and plants are immune from Mr Pussy and gravity.
    You should not have long to wait before spring blooms in your garden, I have just been admiring clumps of Snowdrops in mine
    Best wishes

  4. January 29, 2012

    I have been parched waiting for the bulbs to debut in their staffordshire finery .
    This is so welcome gentle author !……. its grey grey grey here in the west of Ireland but I too have strategically placed beacons of hope scattered around my inner chambers .
    thanks for all

  5. Vicky permalink
    January 29, 2012

    This is lovely, the signs of Spring brought indoors.

  6. January 30, 2012

    Monday morning – just trying to get started on a drawing/painting of spring flowers and
    didn’t see your lovely pictures until just now – very inspiring and I love your china.

  7. Lesley permalink
    January 30, 2012

    Thank you – such beautiful photos! I have purple cyclamen in a Moroccan pot in my kitchen. It has been in flower continuously since late October even though the man at the garden centre told me the central heating would kill it!

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