Spring seems a long way off.
‘The first snows have come and gone, but for a few days at least the garden was stranded in the depths of winter. Inevitably this brings with it too its consequences – once all the whiteness has disappeared – there is a collapsed section of stone dyke at the entrance – this has been rebuilt. Also the wooden gate at the end of the lane – the car park entrance – the top bar has split: a temporary repair with metal strapping is holding this together, but it will probably need a sturdier repair or replacement later on.
The wooden stile at the top of the garden (An escalation of the footpath) which had rotted through is being remade, and should be in place for the start of the new season. The smaller stile at the back of the Temple of Apollo which marks the public right of way is also being repaired.
In this area too a site is being cleared and prepared for a new shed to house mobility scooters which will bring further access to the garden. A few more trees have been planted around here and wood chip from the clearances in the front garden has been spread as mulch and weed suppressant.
The water source on the hill has been both freezing and clogging up with silt but is now running again.
A bit more pruning of trees and collecting fallen branches keeps the woodland in order.
A new silver birch has been planted in front of the St Just column base in the front garden. When the weather improves the remainder of replacement trees for the Bring Back the Birch, the sunken garden and Appledore bench areas will be planted. More yews will also be planted by the Roman Garden continuing the renovation of this part of the garden.
The logs left from the tree felling have been stacked away in the wood shed.
Drainage pipes at the bottom of the Parkland and at the back of the lochan have been rodded out and cleared of the heavy ochre silt which blocks them up and leads to the ground around here being saturated. These are now running freely again.
The first bulbs are now peeking through, but the only actual thing in bloom at the moment are the yellow flowers of winter aconites which shine bright against the dark earth like little lemon bon bons.
The ground is heavy – when it is not frosted all is muddy and sodden – the clouds sit flat and low. Spring seems a long way off.’
George Gilliland, January 2017