Winter Reflections

I’m sitting at my desk, wearing thermals under a woolly jumper, and grabbing a few minutes to write before venturing out into the cold to do a survey for a new garden design. It’s taken me weeks, as usual, to come to terms with and embrace the fact that winter is inevitably here.

I have lived in the UK for 25 years now, but still struggle with the changing of the seasons at this time of year. I mourn for summer, through most of autumn. I go through all the stages of grief:

  1. Denial – I am in a state of shock. I can’t believe summer is over, and I’m gutted that I didn’t make the most of it. I took it for granted, acting as if the warmth and sunshine would last forever.
  2. Anger – I am angry that this is the way things are here in the UK, where I live, (a country I really do quite like, btw). It seems so unfair that the days will become shorter, darker and greyer for months and months.
  3. Bargaining – What if I lived elsewhere, instead of northern Europe? What if I’d made different life choices?
  4. Depression – I feel miserable. I stop going outside. I leave autumn garden jobs undone because I can’t face going out in the cold and wet. I miss the feeling of the sun on my back while I work.
  5. Acceptance – I finally realise that this is reality, and it’s not so bad. Norfolk gives good winters. I go outside, plant all of my spring bulbs, and really look at my beautiful, winter garden. I feel better.

This morning lifted my spirits, and gave me a fabulous reminder that this time of year can be quite wonderful. I think it’s only since moving to Norfolk from London that I’ve really been able to enjoy winter in the UK, rather than simply getting through it. These clear, bright, sunny, crisp, frosty mornings are just breathtakingly beautiful.

I hope you’re enjoying winter too, if that is the season where you’re reading this blog, and that it brings you as much joy as I’m feeling right now.

And to show you, if you’re not convinced, just how pretty gardens can look in winter, I’ve shared some photos from my own garden below. I’m glad I don’t cut things back ruthlessly in autumn. I much prefer to do a tidy up in spring. I’ve hardly touched the garden in the last month or two, and I love the way the plants are dying back naturally. Plus, it’s all so good for wildlife.