Mid-January and the first true frost of the winter. This must be the latest it has ever happened. Last year we had frosts from October right through till spring. I look forward to this coating of white, look forward to a wander around the garden with my camera in hand, look forward to seeing the low morning sun rim the frost on the remaining leaves and seed heads and even a few out of season blooms. Beyond the garden the countryside rested white and still, silent and crisp.
Entering the garden was like entering a different place than we were in yesterday. This world brought to my nose a mixture of comforting scent of wood smoke and tingling cold. It was so quiet and motionless, not even a murmur from moving grasses or bamboos today. Soon though the watery wintery song of the robin arrived and then other robins joined in, each one singing to announce ownership of a patch of garden or countryside. Pleasure to us, a threat to other robins, the true audience.
Deeper into the garden the sweet scent of the Sarcococca joined the wood smoke, a rich aroma from an insignificant tiny white flower on a dull evergreen shrub. I planted it near the greenhouse door and its perfume scents the air whenever I work in there in the winter. It is a scent that stays in your nostrils for a time after you have left the garden and returned indoors. Today it has filled the garden completely.
The icing sugar frost has settled on berries and buds, foliage and flowers, seed heads and stems.
The frost even coats terra-cotta and metal.