But not my garden, sadly. We spent Sunday afternoon at Harlow Carr, a beautiful RHS area of landscaped gardens, open spaces and woodland. It's near Harrogate, about 45 minutes from us in West Leeds and it really is pretty amazing, if gardening and plants are your thing.* You see, Bella and Angus are not great walkers. They moan and drag their feet and need constant distraction. The pleasure of being outside in the fresh air and getting some exercise is meaningless to them. They need to look for things, climb on things and feel that there is some purpose to it all. Harlow Carr is great for this as children can follows trails around the grounds, collecting clues and learning about things like the tree alphabet, while running around, following assault courses and exploring huge tree houses with rope bridges. It's absolutely brilliant, it really is, and the grown ups get to walk and chat and take lots of photos.
Many of my blogging friends take part in monthly garden moodboards, where you take a few cuttings from your garden each month and then arrange and photograph them, thereby keeping a visual journal of the annual cycle of your garden. I think it's a wonderful idea (and may join in next year) but have not taken park yet because, to be honest, right now our garden is brown. Brown with a bit of green, a touch of grey, and three sad looking cyclamens in the pots on the front door step. If I did a moodboard right now, you'd be forgiven for thinking it looked like a piece of army camouflage.
Harlow Carr was bursting with colour. There were flowers, and when there weren't flowers, there were berries, and when there were no berries, there were plants with hot pink stalks. And when there was no colour, there was structure, shape and interest. Always there was something interesting to look at, or walk through, or touch. It got me thinking about our garden, and how I could plant more intelligently to produce colour throughout the coldest, darkest months. And now I wish wholeheartedly that I'd taken note of some of the names of the plants I photographed, so that I could replicate this use of colour in December. If anyone has any ideas or recommendations for plants that provide colour throughout the winter months, (and which are also quite easy to care for!) I'd be most grateful.
*It's also not free, but our friends have a membership card and so we only had to pay for one of us to go in, the rest were included in their card. And no, we didn't go into Betty's, but doesn't it look inviting all lit up like that?