Sharp, blue skies and the promise of flowers brought me out of hibernation today. Finally we got to go off on our snowdrop walk and it was the perfect day. Cold, brisk and bright.
I've not been here for many years and it was lovely to return. There were more snowdrops in the woodlands than I remembered and fewer on the walk to the lake, but the display was just beautiful.
They were everywhere; carpeting bank sides, drifting through the trees, crowding together in pots and dotted singly here and there. The stiff breeze made their little heads nod and dance making the whole garden seem alive.
A short stroll through the trees brings you to a mile long lake, full of waterfowl and with an ancient boathouse. They're lovely things I think, but a bit sinister. In all those country house books and programmes, something terrible always happens in the boathouse!
The boys enjoyed a run about, collecting sticks as ever and Woody (although absolutely not a gardening fan) loved the gentle surroundings and being out in the fresh air.
Me - I just loved the flowers. Oodles of them, so early in the year was a joy. I'm getting fonder of cyclamen as I get older. There were some minuscule varieties dotted about that could have been bouquets for fairies.
Isn't this a clever trick? In amongst the borders are little mirrors so that you can see the delicacy and beauty of the inside of these little beauties. Genius.
And then, past this lovely private walk to the estate church, is the kitchen garden that one year I will definitely visit in July when it'll be fit to bursting with crops.
The Gardener's Cottage is still lived in and today smoke curled from the chimney across the fallow, turned beds. I find walled kitchen gardens fascinating, full of memories all those gardeners been and gone. Here there are espaliered fruit trees, Victorian greenhouses and traditional terracotta rhubarb forcers. One day I shall get to have a proper look around and not a two minute sprint, chasing small boys!
A truly lovely afternoon to remind you that winter is on the wane. There might still be plenty of time left for the frost, the snow and the cold but those weeks are numbered now. Spring is creeping up to the surface and even though we'll still be muffled up for ages, the flowers will flow. Crocus next then the narcissi and before too long the glorious bluebells. Bring it all on I say!
P.S. I've been faffing around with my blog again! You can choose to view it in which ever way suits you by selecting from the menu on the left - I rather like "magazine" but have fun choosing. Just select the picture in the top left hand corner for the latest post and I think commenting is the same as usual. Xxx