I posted the above picture yesterday; and today...
... came across this one, which was taken in August from more or less (not quite) the same spot. And that - together with Daughter 2's enthusiasm for winter - led to my thinking about seasons.
Britain has very definite seasons and it came as a surprise to me when I started teaching and came across students from other countries (for example, Malaysia) where they don't have spring, summer, autumn and winter as we do. They may have, for example, a rainy season but they don't have markedly different periods of weather when the plants change their characteristics.
I suppose it's just what you're used to, but though I couldn't positively claim to love winter, it makes spring even more pleasurable. The first day of spring weather is so intoxicating, when the earth's warming up and you can almost feel the roots spreading beneath your feet; the birds sing; the daffodils are such an intense yellow; and everything is full of promise. Then there's the summer pleasure of seeing the leaves unfurling, the herbaceous plants burgeoning and blooming and the air becoming mild and, yes, sometimes hot. Autumn has that rich lushness together with the occasional nip in the air to remind you to appreciate it because winter's on its way. And even winter can be lovely - the beautiful days give hints of spring to come and the dark, cold, wet ones provide a fine excuse to shut the curtains and read books.
Maybe it's just all a big con; maybe we kid ourselves that we like the variety because that's what we've got. But - conveniently - I do like it. At the moment in the garden the snowdrops are still blooming, most of the crocuses have come out and the first, Tete-a-Tete daffodils are opening. Spring won't be long now.
The gardening season is almost upon us. I'm looking forward to it.