Into Winter

4 December 2017
Ben Pentreath

Nothing’s really been happening – which is nice: a moment of peace before we tip headlong into Christmas. I got sick momentarily, cancelled meetings and went to bed for a day and listened to back editions of Desert Island Discs. The weather suddenly turned.  We’ve had some chilled days down in Dorset – not the heaviest frosts yet but still raw, with a biting northerly wind. I love this moment when the leaves have finally blown. Not much is more beautiful than the shape of leafless trees in winter.

Charlie’s been planting tulip bulbs.  As readers of the blog will know, he doesn’t do things in halves. This is a trench of mixed bulbs that he’s put into the veg garden. 

Freezing and backbreaking work. 

But it will be worth it. I can’t wait until spring. That’s what I love about gardening. It’s endlessly looking forward. Do you know any gardener who isn’t an optimistic person?

Bulbs all put to bed.

The nasturtiums have been frosted off at last.

A rare view of our kitchen yard in the watery sunshine.

Trays of wallflowers ready to be potted up.

Winter light.

The geraniums are in the bay window for the winter.

Last light. One of my favourite moments of the year.I’ve got the craziest week coming up – two days in London, then to Warwick, Newcastle and Edinburgh for work. And on Thursday Charlie and Mavis are driving up to Edinburgh (Mavis is booked in to our hotel for the night) and on Friday we are off to the Landmark Trust Pineapple for the weekend. We can’t wait!

20 comments on this post

Mrs Hsays:

Hope this doesn’t make me sound like a mad ex-girlfriend but I’ve missed seeing you! Your blog updates and especially your photographs are so uplifting.

If it isn’t too intrusive, I would love to read/see more of your parents’ downsizing project, which you’ve filmed once or twice on your IG Stories. It’s something my own family are facing in the next year or so, and every single one of us is dreading it for different reasons. I’m hoping your parents’ example will inspire my own folks to see it as a positive step.


I just found your blog and love it! Charlie is amazing!

Pierre B.says:

Great post as usual Ben! My favorite photo might be the sixth one(Hi Mavis!). Can’t wait to see the tulips (Hi Charlie!)


Beautiful wintery images Ben how lucky we are to have the changing seasons.Great pics of Charlie planting his bulbs (so that’s how it is done!!) l am sure they will look magnificent come spring. Hope you Charlie and Mavis have a wonderful weekend in Scotland.Thank you for another delightful blog.

Laurel Bernsays:

Incredible beauty, Ben. I’ve never seen so many bulbs. Oh, how glorious the spring will be! Please hurry!

Diane Keanesays:

A lovely late autumn post, Ben. This time of year is always a bit melancholy, but there is poetry in the long, low rays of the retreating sun moving through the rooms (a new pleasure since until retiring, I was seldom home during the day.) I envy Charlie’s bulb hysteria! In my garden, the deer would be awaiting the coming feast and all would be eaten to the ground as soon as a few inches of green appeared. So I’m relying on you for glorious photos come April. Enjoy your stay in the Pineapple! Scotland is one of my favorite places that I’ve never been. Hugs from Diane


thank you for sharing englishness, still the “same”, after all these centuries, a wonderful start to my week. am looking foward to hearing ’bout mavis’s weekend away at the pineapple!

travel blessings, dear ben and charlie and! mavis


As always I’m loving your blog, but even more so today as I had to cancel my planned trip to Wessex last week due to a certain Mr Peabody going doing with a bad case of arthritis.

Randy Coxsays:

I understand why your garden is so glorious! All of the heart and hard work you invest in it! Great job Ben & Charlie! Happy Holidays from America!


Thank you for sharing, as ever. The slow, dependable turn of the season so beautifully conveyed – and so very needed as the perfect antidote to other turns! Looking forward to seeing Charlies tulips next spring, they will be a sight to behold – and completely worth the back ache. Optimism and hope in one small bulb.

Clay McCleerysays:

You have such a lovely home, no matter the season!


Terribly behind on everything these days but I made a few minutes to check in with you,Charlie et al. I always feel slightly reassured after reading your blog- the solidity,the permanence of England when so much is in flux. Thank you for conveying it so well & so elegantly.
My mother in law commented on how many books we have and in every room save the loos and I was sorely tempted to show her one of your rooms or one of the rooms pictured in your wonderful books. Alas I thought that it might be rude to invoke your name in such a manner.


I’m looking guiltily at my as yet unplanted huge box of tulips from Peter Nyssen… Charlie puts me to shame!


Winter Wonderland ………
how beautiful is this landscape !
Charlie’s tulip bulbs, with engaged body use 🙂
It will be amazing in spring when all the tulips are in bloom.
I’ve put my pink geraniums in a south window for the winter too !
Thank you for the beautiful photos. Wintertime, Christmastime ……a fantastic & peaceful season of the year, always and always again. When the trees are leafless, now it’s winter. When the daylight get over and the light of the lamps at home are shining, it is the warmest & happiest time of the day.Christmas is coming soon …….
Wish you a good week for work and enjoy your weekend in Scotland in the very beautiful Pineapple.
Yours Birgit from Germany 🙂


Utterly soothing and beautiful. Thank you Ben


“Nothing happening”…except for all the business underground as bulbs and window sill geraniums settle in for winter. We could all do with a bit of “nothing happening”, but “waiting” and perhaps that was the seed for Advent.
Sorry you were under the weather, but tis the season for all those shared bugs as people start to celebrate the holidays. Enjoy Pineapple, looks so interesting. You are a great help in gathering ideas for a trip over to Great Britain. In the meanwhile, Chicago has been balmy for November/December and you reminded me I had better get my few bulbs in. Looking forward to seeing Charlie’s patch next spring. Your spring is earlier than here so it will be a treat. Happy Holidays!

Gillian Thompsonsays:

As a resident, I’d love to know what work you are doing in Warwick…?

David Sanderssays:

Brrr; looks awfully cold Ben, but still very pretty tho’. We’ve been sweltering in 30C + temperatures in Canterbury NZ lately, which looks likely to continue for quite some time to come – just thought I’d rub that in. Not that it’s all good news tho’, being this hot, this early has farmers worried and gardeners on tenterhooks. If you and Charlie are considering a visit down to this part of the world to see Charlie’s friends and family over Christmas, I think you can safely be assured of clement weather. Christmas under a baking hot sun always seems strange to me, even tho’ I was born and raised in NZ – must be something buried in my English DNA that refuses to acclimatise.

Bren Boardmansays:

Lovely pictures, can’t wait to see the tulips in bloom. If you are in Warwick and have a spare hour, then Hill Close Victorian Gardens are worth a visit, as is the Mill Garden with amazing views of Warwick Castle – and Hatton & Harding’s shop owned by two of the nicest guys.

Patricia Taylorsays:

Beautiful images, I so love the stillness of winter.
THOSE TULIPS – and there I am trying to find time to
plant up two large pots for the terrace!

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