My eldest daughter and I are trying to take regular walks at the weekend through the winter. Today Stevie dropped us at Sissinghurst so that we could skirt the perimeter of the estate, and then walk home.
There are hedges on both sides of the driveway. They are over my head, but this allowed me to admire the upward facing spurs against a clear blue sky.
The only green is from the holly and the ivy.
Ivy is important in hedgerows in winter. It provides cover for birds, mammals and insects. The nectar, pollen and berries are a vital food source.
Catkins are providing subtle decoration. You have to take joy where you can find it in winter.
I think that this hazel is coppiced to provide plant supports in the garden at Sissinghurst.
On the other side of the lane, there was a low rolling mist providing a blue haze below the line of the trees.
These oaks feel like old friends.
Each has its own character.
We didn’t see a soul approaching the castle today.
The pleached limes stood like sentinels, guarding the entrance.
We gave them a wide berth, and carried on around the perimeter.
Looking in over these briars made me feel that all the garden was sleeping, like in the fairy tale of ‘Sleeping Beauty’.
I imagined the gardeners stood frozen, pushing their barrows, bent over the flowerbeds, pruning the roses.
For now, the garden must sleep on, and we must leave it to its slumber.
This is the view out to the kingdom beyond.
I love the smudge of turquoise from the frost on the field. There was a robin on the gate, but I was not quick enough with my zoom lens to capture it.
We started walking with purpose now, knowing it was a long way home. This is the view looking back, with the tower in the distance.
You may have noticed I have a thing for hedgerows. At this time of year, I love the deep red of dogwood stems. When I’m driving and I see a stretch of them, and I am so glad of the colour.
The top of the hedge is always reddest, where there are new shoots. Often there is a clear re-growth line, showing where the hedge was last trimmed.
You can see the tiny nubs of next year’s leaf-buds.
For now they lie dormant, sleeping, in a bit of a haze.
I looked back the other way, the way we had come, and that was sparkling with the melting frost.
Maybe it was all just a dream.
We are in the inbetween-time. We are waiting for signs of life. I can see them already, with the shoots of the bulbs already pushing up the soil. But it will be a slow start. There will be much yawning, pulling the covers back over the head, and dozing off back to sleep again.
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