Between late afternoon and dusk I take a walk – and whereas on other days the drabness has depressed me, today its subtlety has filled me with joy. So I concentrate on capturing the colours of deepest winter in my photographs…

1 The last photo first – deep dusk on the stones of the path at the Cottage Garden

The Beech Borders first draw my attention to the photogenic nature of the theme…

2 Beech Borders The Beech Tree and seat, backed by a semi-circular hedge of witchazel and lime

Then the seat, and the textures in the composition keep me busy – meanwhile the dogs are ratting in the tall grass behind me, unconcerned that the walk is interrupted.

3 Beech Borders seat I could of course claim that the colour scheme is considered and deliberate…

How could I a few days ago have found this sight depressing?

4 Beech Borders seat and hedge A carpet of leaves, evenly strewn, and soft light – a glow…

And nestling in this season’s death lies next season’s birth.

5 Beech twig Beech buds seem to hold more promise than most other trees…

And the promise is reinforced by the spiraeas, sporting minute flowers even before all autumn leaves are shed.

6 Spiraea flowers in mid-winter Each flower no more than 3mm 1/8in across

Whereas the memory of summer’s flowers are… well… faded…

7 Verbena bonariensis in seed Verbena bonariensis’s tiny but intense purple flowers produce plentiful seed

…Some less so than others…

8 Everlasting in winter Everlastings never quite lose their colour, the remnants of summer’s gold hidden in winter’s amber.

A lone grass seedhead sways  over the last leaves of the water lilies.

  Survivor of mower and marauder, strimmer and scythe…

The light off the Makou Dam is cold as moonlight.

10 Makou Dam And earlier in the week we saw four otters play in the water

Browns seem to be plated in silver…

11 Bracken Bracken leaf near the Makou  Dam

 In the arboretum the hydrangeas which once marched up the hill in blues and whites under a canopy of tulip trees now wear neutral fatigues.

13 Hydrangeas under the tulip trees - winter  Though even now their colour contributes drama …

Witchazel is Old Gold in the gloom – highlight rather than colour.And  the leaves are the richest deep brown.


Texture is all…

15 Seeds 16 Branches

Seeds and branches 

…And Mateczka’s colouring fits in perfectly.

Mateczka among the swamp cyprusses Here she is among the Swamp Cypresses at the far fountain.

Bark detailing becomes prominent, and the thin layer of fallen leaves and twigs contrast with the water in the stream.

17 At the stream The darkest of the Japanese maples has quite a different winter charm.

Nearby the most dramatically wintery of our many tree ferns salute passersby.

18 Tree ferns Almost evergreen in a frost-free climate, ours are decidedly seasonal!

Below I played with a different format – do you know how much purple there is in these browns!

19 Quercus velutina
20 Bench under Quercus velutina 3
20 Bench under Quercus velutina

Have I mentioned texture before…

21 Bench 22 stump

Bench and stump in Quercus Corner; a good rest in the furthest corner of the garden.

 Heading back towards the House that Jack Built I photograph the hydrangeas along Oak Avenue.

23 Oak avenue Is this what I really saw, or is the camera becoming creative with the available light? Fact is, the hydrangeas under the verticals of the trees made for an impressive composition…

Finally – well, near finally, for from here we move back to my first photo – we see the view from The House that Jack Built…

24 The bridge and halfmoon meadow I have always called the bridge the icon of my garden – and for the first time in years the half-moon meadow is cleared and echoes the curve of the bridge.



  1. Truly beautiful images … you’ve managed to capture the magic of the winter in your garden. Absolutely love the photo of Makou Dam and the shot of the brilliant Witchazel. I really enjoyed the winter stroll through your garden.

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