In a winter garden our focus changes. We find ourselves gazing at a micro world of moss and lichen that’s almost defiantly green, seemingly unperturbed by the season.
Textural black seeds, stems, fronds and leaves have a strange, rich beauty, forming a natural mulch underneath some dormant tree ferns.
We appreciate the individuality of trees more at this time of year. We’re more aware of their silhouettes when they’re just bare trunks with branches, without the leafy, quivering gowns that will soon hide a multitude of sins.
I paused to walk round this stately Metasequoia glyptostroboides, an endangered Dawn Redwood.
The sinewy reddish bark had bold streaks of green and verdigris; some kind of mould or fungus. I hope it’s not harmful to the tree. Redwoods are fast growing, so this is not as old as it looks. Like a much older oak or an elm, it’s already a community tree, providing shelter for birds, insects, animals, plants and vines.
Recycled wood is quite a feature of Ness Botanic Gardens. I liked the paths made from tree trunks and these upturned tree roots in the stumpery with their throw rug of black mondo grass. I missed the Wood Henge, as it’s a little out of the way in a corner of the Wildflower meadow, but I’ll try to call back in the summer.
Expect to see pictures of flowers from my visit soon, but today I wanted to linger on the things that the season lays bare for our attention: things I’ll soon be overlooking as lush spring greenery overshadows them.