I love gardening so why stop in the cold. My indoor winter garden keeps a smile on my face even in the worst weather. Come and see.
And the flushed robin, in the evening’s hoar
Does of Love’s Day, as if he saw it, sing;
But sweeter yet than dream or song of Summer or Spring
Are Winter’s sometime smiles,..
Coventry Patmore (1823-1896)
Winter needs champions. It finds them in several of the poets and, I hope, in me too. Coventry Patmore is a winter supporter. Here is another:
“It is a pleasure to a real lover of Nature to give winter all the glory he can, for summer will make its own way, and speak its own praises.”
From Dorothy Wordsworth’s ‘Lakeland Diary’
As Dorothy Wordsworth says the summer can look after itself. So too can the summer garden. From March to November there will always be a show of flowers and foliage. But winter has its ‘Sometime Smiles’ too. For me that includes anything that flowers in the period between November to March.
Such winter treasures will always have my full attention, especial those with a scent.
“I’ve been a dweller on the plains and have sighed when summer days were gone; No more I’ll sigh; for winter here hath gladsome gardens of his own.” Dorothy Wordsworth
Here are a few photographs of our own ‘gladsome’ winter garden taken last week, before this week’s frosts. Whatever month there is always something of interest here.
Below are some the best indoor winter-flowering plants that I’ve grown in the past few years, flowering between November and March, including some from my frost free (unheated) Garden Room. During bleak cold days they give me much inner warmth and pleasure. No need to wear coats either! I can garden in comfort whatever the weather outside.
The Narcissus ‘Paper White’ and Iris reticulata are grown from new bulbs each year. After their summer break the South African Veltheimia (deep pink) and Lachenalia (pale pink) return into growth each winter like old familiar friends. The white Sweet Scented Cyclamen persicum ‘Wild form’ were grown from seed.
For the gardener who is close to the earth winter is never dead. He/she senses the life hidden but poised for reawakening. Under the soil in roots, rhizomes, bulbs, seeds and above ground in shoots, stems and buds all is packed full of promise.
“Winter is not a season in which one wishes to linger indefinitely, but there is a feeling of movement throughout and a clear sense of anticipation.”
From Christopher Lloyd’s ‘Flower Garden’
When is the best time to do this job in the garden? Christopher used to say: do it now while you’re thinking of it. Otherwise you will forget ! Winter is a good time for many preparatory jobs in the garden.
The windowsills are full. But this show smiles at the cold weather outside.
….All plants, of every leaf that can endure
The winter’s frown, if screen’d from his shrewd bite,
Live there, and prosper.’
( William Cowper – from ‘The Task’ )
Well said! That’s what inspires and keeps me going and gardening through the winter cold.
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Next Post – Winter’s Night Sky ( If the clouds clear!)