Winter turning

8 February 2015
Ben Pentreath

There’s always a false dawn around this time of year, but I can’t help but wonder if winter is turning. I’m noticing how much lighter it is in the mornings and evenings, for one. I’m writing in London at the end of a beautiful day.  It’s five o clock and the sun is gently setting over Queen Square.

Of course, one day of warm sunshine doesn’t mean spring – we all know there is nothing like the harshest winds of March to shock us all (and the garden).   But there’s nothing like a day of warm sunshine to give you a sense of things to come.

Charlie and I were at Wardington. The morning was sensational… and before breakfast I took my camera for a walk in the garden. There had been a hard frost but it was fast burning off. P1070957

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The gates were magnificent in the haze, casting long shadows over the lawn.P1070961 P1070964 P1070967 P1070974 P1070978

I walked across from the house to the flower field, where Bridget Elworthy and Henrietta Courtauld run the fantastic Land Gardeners. You’ll remember I wrote about the flower field back in the Autumn when the dahlias were at their craziest. It’s good to see the structure of such places in the middle of winter.P1070981 P1070988 P1070990

Tulips are on their way:P1070991

In between perfectly pruned rows of roses:

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The Land Gardeners provide seasonal English cut flowers to florists across London. In the summer, Bridget and Henrietta cut flowers at dawn and they are in London before the rest of us have woken up. There is nothing as fresh and scented like it.


If you want to get a taste of what they’re up to, I suspect you might enjoy the land gardeners’ new blog here… even if it makes rather amusing references to the size of my garden fork, and even if Bridget makes false aspersions as to who planted the paperwhites at the Old Parsonage…. it’s a very good read and the best way to follow the trials and tribulations of growing flowers at home.

I came inside, freezing cold, to find Charlie and Somers having breakfast.  You can’t really go wrong with a smile like that.


A perfect Sunday morning. Thank you Elworthys, as always.


Just before I sign off – Zoe and I are looking for a studio assistant in the office.  If you haven’t already noticed the ad on the right of the blog page, please check out more details here.  If you think you’ve got exactly what it takes to help our busy team, and especially Zoe (who runs the practice), would you get in touch with Zoe? Or if you think you know the perfect person for us, please pass on the details to them. We’re interviewing in March.

Thank you.


Also, a technical note. I’ve seen from a couple of recent comments on the blog that some people are only seeing half a photo when the blog loads up.  If that happens, can I suggest pressing the ‘refresh’ button in your internet browser window, and they should resize correctly.  If you have any idea of what I’m talking about, that should work. On my mac, it’s a little round arrow on the top right of the screen.

I’ll talk to Colin in the technical department to see if we can come up with a more permanent fix.


9 comments on this post


I want to crash your breakfast! It’s so perfectly captures breakfasts I used to know. Sleepy, smiley faces with bed head, the Aga, the Spode, the candles all offset from being too perfect by the plastic milk and yogurt cartons and feeling of warm randomness. Were there dogs mooching under the table?


So soothing. Thank you.


Making me nostalgic once again for North Oxfordshire Cotswold stone, in combination with clipped yew, wrought iron and gravel. So evocative. From a chilly East Devon, Nicola


Ben, very evocative post – thank you

While I realise that good photos are about the eye of the photographer, rather than the equipment used, I’d be interested to know what type of camera you are using these days?

Best regards

Ben, wintry though these pictures are, you have no idea how lovely it is to see photographs with ground in them—actual dirt.

Here in Cambridge, we are buried in snow; over 60 inches (1.5m) have fallen in the past 17 days. None of it has melted, and it is still coming down steadily. We have nowhere left to put it, so the piles are about seven feet (2m) high against the side of our house.

Coincidentally, a gorgeous young man from London named Ben, whom I have never seen before, emerged from our back apartment this morning to help us shovel…he’s staying with our nephew and his fiance for a few days, apparently.

Life is good, after all ;->



The refresh button works. But even half a screen of your luscious photos are better than all the others combined. I do hope you are working on a book about how to take photos. I also have a couple of recipes that I want to send Charlie. Thank you for every Monday morning.

The sleepy gardens of Wardington look divine. I always enjoy viewing the bones of a good garden during the winter months as to my eye they possess a hauntingly beautiful severity.

A lit candle on a Sunday morning at the kitchen table- fabulous.

Aga cooked breakfast, Mmmm the very best of the best.

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