The Bare Bones….

It’s easy to feel down in the dumps at this time of year.

The long dark nights, the cold, the fog, the feeling that summer is a long way off and it’s only going to get worse before it gets better….

But as always there’s a lesson to be learnt from what’s going on in the garden. Because out there things are settling themselves down, tucking themselves in, and taking the opportunity to renew themselves for next year. All the action and the noise, the colours, the scents, the hustle and bustle of the changing seasons has died away leaving the bare bones, the structure, the frame on which everything else relies.

So now is the time for contemplation and consideration, for taking stock and deciding what works and what doesn’t. Which is what I’ve been doing a fair bit of over the past few weeks.

Take this garden design course for example. You know those voices in your head that you don’t actually stop and listen to but are there egging you on in the background. The voices that whisper about what people are expecting from you, what hill you need to climb in order to be successful, how the last thing you did that you thought would count doesn’t anymore. Well this year those voices have been going into overdrive – don’t be boring, don’t stop, don’t rest, prove yourself, achieve, show people you’re not past it, you’ve got to be the best, nothing else is good enough. And I wound up tired and emotional and unable to carry on.

But now that I’ve had a bit of time to think about the course, about why I’m doing it and what I want to get out of it, I’ve discovered something rather surprising. I’ve discovered that I don’t have to prove myself to anybody else but me.

Which has been a gift. Because I’ve stopped and I’ve rested and I’ve taken stock. And you know what – when you take the time to stop and listen that’s when you realise that the voices aren’t real. The ‘people’ who have been driving you don’t exist anywhere else but in your head.

So hurrah for winter, for taking time out to consider and contemplate.

And don’t be fooled into thinking there’s nothing to enjoy in the garden at this time of year….

Tucked up for the winter....
Tucked up for the winter….
Gentle greens and subtle silvers....
Gentle greens and subtle silvers….


The view from my front door step....
The view from my front door step….

Winter colour

Winter colour doesn’t have to shout….
Although sometimes....
Although sometimes….

And my advice for what it’s worth is to take some time out, even if it’s only for a few minutes, to stop and settle and contemplate. You might be surprised by what you find.