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‘No Enemy But Winter & Rough Weather…’

January 1, 2017
by the gentle author

‘No enemy but winter and rough weather…’

Every year at this low ebb of the seasons, I go to Columbia Rd Market 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 – 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

32 Responses leave one →
  1. January 1, 2017

    Happy New Year GA! I love these bits of Spring.

  2. Chris F permalink
    January 1, 2017

    Happy New Year and good health… For you & Mr Pussy…

  3. Sarah permalink
    January 1, 2017

    Thankyou, this lightens the misery of hatred and racism, brought on by brexit and Trump, by reminding me that il faut cultivar nos jardins including indoor ones.

    Warm and loving good wishes to you and charming Mr. Pussy. Have you seen the BM’s reproduction of Robinson’s The Black Cat Book?

  4. Marie Currie permalink
    January 1, 2017

    It has just passed midnight here in the Canadian Boreal Plain. Latitude 53.54.
    What a beautiful floral tradition. The happiest of New Years to you and the blooms.
    M. C.

  5. Evelyn P-O permalink
    January 1, 2017

    Lovely. Thank you for a year of interesting, touching and intriguing posts. To me, they are much like your delicate flowers in the morning. Happy New Year.

  6. January 1, 2017

    Lovely, thank you.

  7. January 1, 2017

    Your lovely plants are pointing to spring at a time when it is still weeks away, giving us hope. Happy 2017! Valerie

  8. January 1, 2017

    A fine piece of cheerful winter writing this morning from GA with the big plant show its what us blogger’s need. Or is it an early Spring show in pots – nice. Can I move on please to the next big show Spring. I can catch three Springs at different times. Cornwall, West country and Mid Wales or go to the Scilly Isles the bulk of the Spring daffs will be ready soon for the London market !Hmmm that makes it No 4. Good for the soul to have a perpetual Spring if you can get it. Poet John PS Go to Kew Gardens for the best of Spring coming soon for early bulbs, you will not be disappointed.

  9. January 1, 2017

    What a lovely collection of pots, plants and photos. And Orlando in his giant forest of flowers. 🙂

  10. Liz L permalink
    January 1, 2017

    A very Happy New Year to you, GA. May it be a kind and peaceful one.

  11. Peg P permalink
    January 1, 2017

    Thank you GA on a happy but dull, wet New Year’s Day, beautifully inspiring!

  12. Lucy permalink
    January 1, 2017

    How do you deal with drainage in those lovely old pots?
    Do you drill holes in the bottom??
    Hope someone can advise me.

  13. Mike Brown permalink
    January 1, 2017

    Happy New Year, and thanks for another colourful and inspiring blog to cheer a dull winter’s day

  14. January 1, 2017

    Happy New Year! Beautiful bulbs.

  15. Richard white permalink
    January 1, 2017

    Love the Auriculas and the pots.
    Lucy- you just water sparingly if no drainage holes, soil just moist.
    Happy new year and many thanks for all the fascinating posts.

  16. Annie permalink
    January 1, 2017

    Happy New Year GA. what a lovely posting for New Years Day. It makes me feel so very happy just reading it. I love your pots too. I was bought a Hyacinth for Christmas in a metallic bowl. I will certainly transplant it into a beautiful pot like yours on my return to London.

  17. January 1, 2017

    Such gorgeous crocks and sumptuous blooms! Thank you once more Gentle Author, and a very Happy New Year!

  18. January 1, 2017

    Happy New Year, Gentle Author. Thank you for these lovely photographs. Wrap up warm, while the winter wheeze torments you.

    This post is a real reminder that the days are getting longer and new growth is on the way. Thank you.

  19. Sheila Crowson permalink
    January 1, 2017

    Your flowers in pots brightened the day – a gloomy one at present. Now can’t wait to use my gardening vouchers (Christmas presents) go out and get some winter flowering bulbs.

  20. Kate permalink
    January 1, 2017

    Happy new year Gentle Author, I too collect tatty old bowls at car boot sales and junk markets and look forward to a glimpse of spring peeking through.

  21. Kassie permalink
    January 1, 2017

    I still remember a lovely photo of muscari in a cup you posted years ago. These, like those muscari of the past, cheer me immensely. Thank you for all you do, GA, and Happy New Year.

  22. Roger Tiller permalink
    January 1, 2017

    Mine look about the same as yours in my old pots given to me by my aunt years ago, I love watching them grow slowly over the winter time, gives me so much pleasure as I don’t get out much.

  23. Roger Tiller permalink
    January 1, 2017

    Make sure you put a small tray or saucer under you’re pots if you are putting them on a nice piece of furniture in case you spoil the top it’s sitting on.
    Happy New Year to all.

  24. January 1, 2017

    I love the symmetry…….Just as you gravitate to the hopeful plants on your sideboard, all of your readers wake up to your daily posts in our inbox. Thank you for the discoveries, insights, and optimism.
    A very happy, peaceful New Year to all.

  25. Suzy permalink
    January 1, 2017

    Well this is just lovely! 😀

  26. Julie Marshall permalink
    January 1, 2017

    Lovely, lovely, both the sentiments and their inspiration. Thank you.

  27. gkbowood permalink
    January 1, 2017

    Ahhh, these will brighten up any day! Thank you for another inspiring write up for lifting my spirits for this coming year of the Rooster.

  28. January 2, 2017

    wonderful to see … and in such delightful pots … reminders of the history of potted plants, when the agricultural workers started factory work and needed their plants to tend … the auriculas: we don’t see them often now … thanks so much for sharing these – gorgeous … Happy New Year and all the best in 2017 – cheers Hilary

  29. Delia Folkard permalink
    January 2, 2017

    Blooming lovely! What a cheery sight on such a gloomy day. You have obviously taken care to match your plants to the appropriate pots. If only I had a big oak sideboard then I’d do the same. Wishing you a healthy and happy New Year.

  30. January 5, 2017

    beautiful plants, beautiful pots thank you .. just back from Florida.. this is what I missed . Wishing you a Very Happy New Year.. Sarah

  31. Marjory permalink
    January 5, 2017

    This post with its super photography and beautiful writing just made me feel so much better today. One of my friends forwarded it to me. Thank you for this gift of a piece – it has given me the hope of spring!

  32. Isis permalink
    January 24, 2017

    I am a bit behind on my reading but wanted to tell you that this particular post is a delight to see. Lovely plates and lovely photos. Happy New Year!

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