Wisley . 24.01.14.

A mild day finds us on the road to Wisley, rumbling along the A3. Gloria decided that this was the time to sing about the wheels on her wagon and was greatly amused when she decided that minus numbers meant she was reversing. When we reached minus seven wheels on her wagon and she was still rolling along I was grateful for a heavy shower that distracted her and cooled the heady atmosphere in the vehicle.

Winter has stripped the Bowes-Lyon Rose Garden naked and revealed the structure. Winter is a very unfortunate season. I love the bold planting in the summer. Walking through the garden, the roses are perfumed with the scent of aimlessness in the best tradition of the English Garden. Unfortunately in winter the main paths no longer cascade gleefully through the peaks of culture but slump back onto the hill like a drunken tramp.
Gloria, naturally, sees things a little differently. She says this is the view she gets in her bath.

One can always rely on the RHS to raise the spirits. There is a marvellous old story that the crowns of Gunnera mannicata can be protected from the frost by piling the old leaves over them. I haven't honestly noticed any advantage, but it is marvellous way to entertain grandchildren. The Wilted Pagoda's of Henley were quite notorious while we lived there.
Here the RHS have been building a lovely Pixie Village to protect the garden from winter. These whimsical shadows of childhood are much appreciated by those up us dealing with the decades of decrepitude.

A warm day in January and the fragrance of flowers surfs through the saturated air. These are the days to look back with pleasure at Hamamelis plantings past. I have not noticed 'Harry' before but it is outstanding this year. Large orange flowers massed along the bare stems. I will be dropping some unsubtle hints to those same grandchildren. Santa might even bring them nice new spades for Christmas (if I am prepared to be that patient).

Laughing keeps us young, they say. There are times when Gloria has to take the place of great-grandchildren, and she plays the role with gusto. We were giggling like six-year-olds at this council of pixies hiding in the woods at the top of Battleston Hill. When spring comes they will be stripped naked, and like Gloria in the bath, lose most of their allure.

The mighty greenhouse on the pond has survived the threat of flooding and been filled with tropical butterflies for a month to entertain those who might have come to the garden without any interest in plants. Flapping wings and rotten fruit are surely a feast for the senses. I find it quite peculiar that these shards of the rainbow smell so strongly of rough cider.
Gloria has done as much running and shouting as she can manage and if we appeared to be transfixed it was just fatique.
They say that the universe balances itself. For every fragile delight there must be a dark and ugly force and this is what they will be hatching from. An infant Gloria could have emerged from such a cocoon but she would have to be inflated and I don't see any volunteers on the horizon.

Down in the alpine house we find the crowds of little hummocks bedecked in bloom that characterise the season and here is a Narcissus to hold them in place. The quite delightful 'Miss Muffett'.

We have had some fun but lunch is calling and it is time to leave. Cyclamen coum is in full flower under the trees and I am very envious.My skraggy little clumps lack the magnificence of these sowbreads and look as though they have been visited by a real pig. It is unfortunate but it makes me appreciate these all the more.
Gloria was delighted by them because she has a new gadget that allows her to dangle a camera to ground level and take photographs. She says that it creates the illusion of bending over.
Ha! Those were the days.

If you have any comments you can e-mail me:

(Change at to the more conventional @ symbol!)