Port Medway, January 23
I’m glad you and Cynthia enjoyed the photos. I’ve made it over to the gardens four times since New Year’s Day and even attempted a visit on the worst snow fall (thinking, of course, of the photo opp all that soft falling snow would make) but my car couldn’t muster the first hill into Port and I had to reverse slowly on the ice and turn tail. It was frigid the next day but you’ll see from the photos how gorgeous the trail to the orchard was with the fresh snow fall.
I’m glad I made it there on January 1. We’ve been snow packed since and so I’m happy for the record at the start of this year where we can see what things looked like before it became tundra.
These winter gardens delight in an entirely – and to me, as beautiful if not more- different way, denuded of blooms and foliage. The spiny, skeletal structures of the plants
that are stalwart enough to withstand the wind assaults bring a bizarre hope to this, maybe to all enterprise. I photograph seed pods wondering who is overwintering there. A huge appeal of gardening for me is a plant’s structure; they are architectural to me and now I see them literally as that, a habitat for insects. My favorite, for the moment is the anemone. The pods have turned white and they make a terrific photo study against the snow. They always seemed alien-like to me, all eyeballs and tendrils and I’m happy to see that, in the winter, they’ve hung on and are still wonderfully searching and beautifully weird.
I know you love that pea shrub in the main house garden on the way to the shore. I photographed it for you in all it’s muscley, sinewy brawn; it’s very painterly against the backdrop of rock and lichen, a real beast with a hold on some world. We see so much with the garden naked now. All the berries on various shrubs and plants are centre stage, little bits of understated jewelry made more lustrous by rain and dew.
Yesterday was a ‘soft’ day in the gardens. Even the harsh winter sun seemed to have lost its edge, the plant shadows less serrated, almost buttery. No wind, no susurration, the only sound was the melting ice from the roof trickling along the eaves to the down pipe. A peaceful visit.
Missing you and Cynthia. Will send more Postcards from Port in February. Lynn
Thanks for this, a beautiful description of our gardens at the beginning of 2020, and for the truly wonderful photographs. I miss the gardens. I look forward to being back in Port Medway in April, to our strolls around the property, to the work to be done. Is the winter garden the most beautiful garden of all? Perhaps it is, for the reasons you give. The finery is stripped away: the stark essence remains and is plain to see. I was interested in what you wrote about the anemone and loved the photograph. And you’re right about the pea shrub, a great plant, it’s been there for years. And thanks for using the word “susurration.” It has always been one of my favourites. I first came across it in a book by James Salter. And we push on, in bizarre hope… Philip