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The Gentle Author’s Indoor Garden

January 15, 2023
by the gentle author

As the temperatures plunge, I contemplate my indoor garden

‘No enemy but winter and rough weather…’ As You Like It

Every year at this low ebb of the season, I cultivate bulbs and winter-flowering plants in my collection of old pots from the market and arrange them upon the oak dresser, to observe their growth at close quarters and thereby gain solace and inspiration until the garden outside shows any 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 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

13 Responses leave one →
  1. Angie Whiley permalink
    January 15, 2023


  2. Andy permalink
    January 15, 2023

    It’s a good beginning Gentle Author to be near plants as the day begins, in times of solace when humans seem afar, and when all hope has faded.

  3. Marcia Howard permalink
    January 15, 2023

    Lovely to see, and I bet those blue Hyacinths smell divine. Nothing like flowers to brighten up our days.

  4. Greg T permalink
    January 15, 2023

    Try Galanthus elwesii, rather than “nivalis”
    Larger, blueish leaves, much bigger flowers – & in flower, right now, outside & on my allotment, in profusion

  5. Jane Berry permalink
    January 15, 2023

    Inspirational, I shall be outside digging up bulbs to bring inside as soon as this relentless rain stops. Pretty bowls already sorted, thank you.

  6. Maggie permalink
    January 15, 2023

    Your flowering bulbs and beautiful china are so uplifting. I’ve spied three emerging snowdrops in my lawn this morning but I must organise myself at least one of these indoor treats. First stop, charity shops for pre-loved china! Many thanks ?

  7. January 15, 2023

    I admire all people with a “green thumb”. I’ll never get anything like that done. However, I am following the new trend of “wild gardening”. So in October, the wonderful borage bloomed pale purple in the balcony flower box. And in my kitchen flower pot there are currently strong green leaves and white blossoms — of unknown origin. I enjoy them every day!

    Love & Peace

  8. Christine Swan permalink
    January 15, 2023

    A fine collection of beautiful blooms. I tend not to have many plants in the house due to the penchant cats have for knocking over pots and eating things that they should not. Although I have just brought in a huge pot of blue hyacinths to acclimatise them to the house ready for display. I have a large garden that is always alive, even in the depths of winter. A small patch of last year’s wallflowers in persistent bloom are defying the dropping temperatures outside my kitchen window. I have had to replant a daffodil bulb this morning that I found lying on top of the soil. The local badger clan are regular visitors and are fond of digging up bulbs (and sometimes eating them).

  9. Cherub permalink
    January 15, 2023

    I love the simple stoneware pot with the windmill relief.

  10. Robin permalink
    January 15, 2023

    Delightful images of lovely blooms to help us through the winter. Thank you, GA.

  11. molly guenther permalink
    January 15, 2023

    Lovely, and inspiring. Thank you.

  12. Eva Radford permalink
    January 15, 2023

    Lovely and inspiring. I have a stunning amaryllis going now, which gives me a lift in this dark Canadian winter. Love your china, and envy your access to such little treasures!

  13. Andrew Martin permalink
    February 3, 2023

    just gathered up a few waste bowls and about to head out to garden center for ready-to-force bulbs…thanks for the inspiration!

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