open the curtains

and take a look out the window if you want to know what the weather's like


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As an antidote to the drawing in of the days and the arrival of midwinter (which is what the festival now known as Christmas was originally all about) here is an alternative advent calendar celebrating some of the best of nature’s decorations that I’ve seen this year, with one new flower, fruit or seed for each of the twenty four days of advent. 

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Tree Time

Continuing with National Tree Week here’s something from the archives about a memorable tree from the garden of the house where I grew up.

Thanks to Blacktop Rain for reminding me of it  (the article that is, I couldn’t forget the tree).

A long garden, defined by trees.  The forked apple tree at the centre is the focal point that pulls the eye, the point to which all garden-doings seem to gravitate.  Birds make it their stopover on route from hedge to hedge, like children touching base in a game of tag.

It marks the time, this tree, standing like a sundial in the centre of the lawn, its shadow marking out the hours, its changing appearance marking out the seasons.  In winter it’s a bare framework, mushroom coloured and silvery, smooth on the newer branches, patched on the older trunk with flakes like burnt bark pastry.  An ancient scar is filled with cement.  Continue reading