Time for the garden to come in to ‘deck’ the house. For the past couple of weeks, pots of Paper White narcissi have been scenting the rooms with a promise of Spring. It is possible to grow them in nothing more than pebbles and water, but I think they deserve a deep pot of compost and a dressing of moss. That gives a firm base for props to hold their heads high -I like to use the waxy red stems of dogwood – without which they are inclined to flop and lose their charm too quickly.
But Spring is not here yet and greenery and glitter in abundance is what we yearn for now. From early Autumn, I have gathered promising looking seedheads: poppies, artichokes, alliums, honesty and so on, and left them on their stems, propped in the shed to await a good coating of gold paint. The stuff you find on the motor accessory shelves seems the most effective. A ‘Blue-Peterish’ activity that I put off until the last minute, but really enjoy when I finally get to work: Just heaping them on sheets of newspaper on the shed floor so that they catch us much paint as possible. Apart from the paint, they cost nothing and look spectacular stuck in any old, gold sprayed containers – the bigger the better – amongst a good variety of evergreens. This, after all, is not the season of restraint!