28th November 2014
It’s the hinterland before winter comes, when sunshine isn’t Nidderdale’s friend, serving only to illuminate the yellowing and the fading. Mist is good, as is rain. They give character to an otherwise dull scene. Rain most of all; glistening and dripping.

At Newby the gardeners are hoping for wind. The soil is too clarty to work; frustrating when there are new borders to plant up. I spent Wednesday hacking back cornus. It was a day that probably should have been spent working on a garden design, but after staring for hours at a drawing board the night before I’d lost all sense that these lines and swirls were a garden at all. Better to be in the company of friends, fresh air and living plants.

In so many of these blog posts, I find myself writing about Newby. Much of the time, the work isn’t very glamorous. When I take friends on a tour and they ask which bits I’ve done, I might point at a stretch of path and say ‘that had a load of this or that’ weed or creeping shrub at the edges, which I spent a day rooting up. And they’d stare at the nothingtobeseen and make appreciative noises. But there is nothing like working outdoors, in the company of friends. Even now, in this strange nothingness between autumn and winter.

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