All is frozen.
All is frozen as temperatures plummet and we are iced over in a sparkly white haze and the skeletal shapes of the garden loom in morning frosts.
From early in the month heavy rainfall overbrims the burns which gush and foam down their course – then all becomes icy solidified sculptural forms.
We creep above zero and the frozen water surfaces turn into milky translucence as they thaw back to dark bottomless green. Mirrored puddles glint winter light back upwards.
As snow and frost melt the waters burgeon and flow through the garden again, though the supply from the spring source is still frozen somewhere along the pipeway over the moor – we will just have to wait for it to shift itself clear.
The last of the leaves flitter from the tree canopy and are collected up as frosted fragments. The pathways are kept clear – any fallen debris is blown away or raked up. With the ground having been sodden all season there is a plentitude of moss – on the formal lawned areas this too is cleared away.
Storms and winds have moved their way through, though the air is now still and sullen. There is no major damage to report this time.
Tree work has been completed with removal of overgrown or misshapen trees in the woodland and the Front garden – tidying areas and making space for renewal. New planting can now be planned for spring. The main noticeable differences from those which have gone are the conifer behind Henry Vaughan, remaining pines in the Roman Garden, cypresses at the entrance to the Temple Garden beside the Baucis & Philomen building – and the cherry tree in front of the Temple of Apollo has been thinned out and reduced. In the Woodland Garden a lot of old deadwood has been taken out along with thinnings behind the Flautist / Stone Carver urn. Old roots have been stump ground out to leave space for newcomers. Hopefully also the increased light will extend diversity and density of ground cover planting which has been choked out by the shade in these areas.
What is left behind from all this work is a new stock of logs stacked in the woodshed, and piles of bark chips to be spread for weed suppression.
There is planning for repairs to the Top pond aqueduct and to the worn areas of the grass pathways. There are a few more of the artworks in storage which still need repainting or small repairs.
The glaucous green spikes of snowdrops have pushed through the dark heavy earth and will soon lift into flowering.
So the year in the garden ends – with all tidied away for new beginnings.