It seems that some malevolent witch or wizard has decreed that it shall be winter forever. We have not had a frost-free week since November (I’m keeping count: it’s how long I’ve been waiting to finish cementing my maze), and this weekend saw the garden buried by blizzards once again. It was as though the wicked Beast from the East had given one last flick of his spiny tail as he departed for mythical lands. I stubbornly tried not to let the weather stop me from gardening. I put on all my clothes, all of them, went outside, watered a few pots, and gave up, my fingers frozen beneath two pairs of gloves after just ten minutes. This weekend was made for reading gardening books (or indeed fairy tales, whatever took the fancy).
Several loose branches of the Chaenomeles (Japanese quince) had been burnt to cinders by the previous freeze, its leaves shrivelled and brown on the blackened stems. However, a few charming (and some might say optimistic) little pink buds could be seen dotted here and there on some of the lower, more sheltered stems, and I decided to rescue them from the approaching storm by bringing them inside. Since spring is so late this year and I have been desperately short of anything decent to put in a vase for Cathy’s In a Vase on Monday for several weeks now, you could just as easily say that it was the quince that rescued me.
The bottle once contained some noxious Chinese alcoholic spirit, which I shared with new friends on a night train to Xian many moons ago. The topiary is a fairy tale about my future garden that I tell myself at night when falling asleep.