Looking on the bright side

The day didn’t start off promisingly.  Rather than a luminous dawn, it was murky and dank.   I awoke to the drip-drip of rain coming in through the leaky bedroom window.

Pear tree

Even the dogs were unenthusiastic about going out into the garden.

Lime Tree

This bench has never looked less inviting.

Fuchsia ‘Delta Sarah’ and Rosa ‘Marjorie Fair’

No one wants to come out and play.

Fuchsia ‘Delta Sarah’, looking pensive.

Not even Rosa ‘Lady Emma Hamilton’ and she is always up for a laugh.

Rosa ‘Lady Emma Hamilton’, unusually reserved.

I drank my cup of tea disconsolately.

Pear tree spurs

The only sparkle I could find was coming from the raindrops on the Lime tree.

Lime tree, spreading its fingers.

This tree deals with adversity with good grace.  She spreads her fingers and toes out, grounds herself, and stands up tall.

Lime tree, inhaling.

She helped me see the warm coral of Rosa ‘Summer Song’.  Not just in the bloom, but in the leaf stems, and on the picotee edging of the last leaves.

Rosa ‘Summer Song’

This geranium leaf may be cold and soggy, but it still has chutzpah.  Even with frostbite at its fingers!

Geranium ‘Dragon Heart’ autumn foliage

Geranium ‘Anne Thomson’ may have finally run out of steam, but she’s going to bed with a hot toddy to warm her cockles.

Geranium ‘Anne Thomson’, finally looking a bit scratty.

Even a cobweb can make the best of a bad job.

A cobweb constellation

All through the summer and autumn, the Salvias have been providing me with vivid spikes of eye-candy.  Now they are looking to me to jolly them along.

Salvia nemorosa ‘Ostfriesland’ in autumn, eyeballing me.

I don’t need to.  Geranium magnificum has stepped in.

Geranium magnificum in autumn

This is Rosa ‘Hot Chocolate’ (what a fabulous idea!).  Delicious with nutty praline…

Rosa ‘Hot Chocolate’

Or with cherry brandy and a blazing fire.

Rosa ‘Hot Chocolate’, with a conflagration of Cornus alba ‘Sibirica’ behind

These poor umbels look in need of sustenance.


I can see a subtle beauty in the dried flowerheads of herbs, but it is a very small wonder.


Rosa ‘William Shakespeare 2000’ may have over-indulged.  He looks like he slept in the gutter.  I’ll give him a shake and bring him into the warmth.

Rosa ‘William Shakespeare 2000’, not looking his best.

Hydrangea anomala subsp. petiolaris reminds me of Christmas spices: cloves, cinnamon, star anise and cardamom.

Hydrangea anomala subsp. petiolaris

I don’t need to go far today.  I should wrap up warm, cradle a mug, and be thankful I have a roof over my head.  A little bit of chocolate might help too.

What brings you comfort on a dull day?  What are your favourite indulgences when its cold outside?

The Mindful Gardener is biding her time until spring.  Chocolate and Christmas baubles help.

If you would like a little boost of comfort and joy, then consider clicking on the ‘Follow’ button at the bottom of this page.  A capsule of warmth will burst into your email inbox a couple of times per week.  Just enough to tide you over until the days get longer.

44 Comments Add yours

  1. My daughter brings me comfort even when she isn’t here. Her room is absolutely perfect (no boxes and compete with a bit of xmas cheer). It’s the only room in the house that’s 100% done. I sat in there for a bit yesterday and it made me feel warm. Hot coffee and cuddly dogs are nice. I also like reading my favorite blogs and receiving comments from others all the way across the pond who are reading mine!

    1. Aw, that is so lovely you got your daughter’s room ready first. I remember when we moved into this house my biggest stress was that the children’s beds were made up for bedtime. Thank you for your presence here at such a busy time! I too like the global network and friendship.

  2. Emma Cownie says:

    Beautiful photographs – esp poor old William Shakespeare.

    1. I know. Poor thing. He gets like this.

  3. Love your way of looking at the garden on dreary days like this. My favourite comforts on cold days are a mug of something warm to drink in one hand, a book in the other and my cat on my lap. 😊

    1. Perfect. Swop cat for dog and that’s me too.

  4. Beautiful fall photos!!! You have more color left than we do. Your post made me wish I could crawl back in bed sleep the day away.

    1. It is that time of year, when bed is so tempting, isn’t it?

  5. Rupali says:

    Beautiful images Alison but the Salvia nemorosa ‘Ostfriesland is outstanding.

  6. Heyjude says:

    Your garden is still lovely even when the weather is dreich…
    I would love to cuddle up with a cup of hot chocolate, but with no food in the house I think we are going to have to venture outside to find some lunch and maybe a loaf of bread!!

    1. Hope you found your provisions! I have stocked up on emergency chocolate to get me through!

      1. Heyjude says:

        Ah, chocolate! I have some of that somewhere… [goes to hunt it down]

  7. Louise Bono says:

    I can’t finf the “follow button” I used to get your blog regularly , enjoyed the words and photos then nothing. Did you loose me? And if so I’d like to begin again, thank you, Louise Bono

    1. That’s strange, Louise. The ‘follow’ button is a big rectangle at the bottom of the page if you are using a smartphone; it moves around a bit if you are on a PC or tablet, but should be near the end of the page. Let me know if you still can’t find it.

      Can anyone else see it??

  8. When it is cold and raining out, I love snuggling in bed with my kitties and drinking coffee. I have gone on a couple of cold winter walks, too, which were beautiful. Lovely post, per the usual! Thank you for all the care you put into your photography.

    1. Snuggling and coffee is a perfect combination. Taking photos helps me really look at what’s out there.

      1. Yes, I can tell! It has helped me look more, too!

  9. Katie says:

    Life is a whirlwind of toddler, baby, husband, and pets, so I rarely feel like I get to even notice if it’s cold or warm, wet or sunny. But when it’s especially cold, wet, and dark as I walk to the metro station before dawn to commute to work (I leave before my family wakes up three days a week), I like to think of them all, still warm and cuddled up in cozy beds. Somehow that makes me feel happier and cozier—even though I wish I were there too! Coziness by proxy I guess.

    1. Aw, that is a lovely thought, all warm and snuggly. Hope you share that with them – that would delight any child, I think. I salute you, amazing mum!

  10. bcparkison says:

    Yes. These kind of days are peaceful

    1. Things should slow down in winter, shouldn’t they?

  11. A lovely selection of winter photos. The fuschia, does it not mind the frost and snow? It looks so delicate?

    1. It has now gone yellow! I think it can take a very light frost, but has now protested!

  12. The only time(s) I will accept cobwebs outside is when they’ve been sprinkled with rain diamonds. Yours is lovely, and your garden bench will wait with patience for you to return with a cuppa tea after the showers.

  13. FlowerAlley says:

    If we ever get to meet, I am giving you a bear hug sister. I have trouble with winter, too. That’s why I have a Schlumbergera collection. I also start new Amaryllis bulbs every winter, so I can watch something grow.

  14. M.B. Henry says:

    Dull days are hard – but my those are some very beautiful pictures! Hopefully that took some of the dull away!

    1. It did; it helps having a focus!

  15. Beautiful autumn rainy day photographs – I’m a closet pluviophile (lover of rain). Enjoy the rain! (we’re in a 35C mini heatwave with a hard earth-cracking dry wind.)

    1. That is funny. Not something we tend to celebrate here, but we have had some very long dry spells in summer, and I must admit, rain was a novelty after the drought!

  16. Eliza Waters says:

    We have to find the beauty in the garden where we can these days. You still have lots of it! We’re under icy snow and quite cold.

      1. Eliza Waters says:

        Does help with the festive mood. 🙂

  17. A wonderful narrative Ali.

  18. Cathy says:

    Good for you to go out and get photos on a drab day. Even if it is pouring with rain and half dark I find the best remedy for the winter blues is to go outdoors! My garden is very soggy right now but the trees around us are lovely even on a foggy day. And Christmas cookies help a lot too. 🙂

  19. Chloris says:

    Your photos are dazzling Ali, how clever to find such beauty on a dismal December day.

    1. It’s good therapy for me, Chloris. It’s amazing how there is always something, no matter how small.

  20. Since you are promising a little burst of comfort and joy, I am now following you, Ali! (smile) My best wishes to you.

    1. Ah, that’s great, Cynthia, it is lovely to have you here.

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