The Conservatory


Margaret's Garden Journal


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A corner of the consevatory
Part dining room, part potting shed, part greenhouse, part sewing room, part study, it is very much part of the garden. Not part of the garden perhaps for a month round Christmas when fairy lights combine with tender trees and shrubs that spent the summer in the garden to create a magic grotto round the double tables covered in damask and gleaming glasses. The odours of fine wine and traditional roasts waft through the air and carols set the feet tapping. Usually one can still enjoy wandering round the garden that can be viewed from the windows
Come Twelfth night, icy winds and slippery paths keep one inside. The chitting potatoes, trays of onion seedlings, boxes of sprouting dahlia tubers squeeze the dining area and study intoto a corner but scented hyacinths smother the smell of damp from bales of potting compost. Outside Pigeons stamp and crash land on the roof to share some of the rising warmth. By spring only a narrow path give access to the pricked out plants laid out on boxes covering the floor. Window handles act as hooks for newly planted hanging baskets. Rapidly expanding tomato plants take over the desk so the laptop has to take it in turns with a knife and fork on a lonely tablemat and the telephone hides under a surfinia. June - the room empties. Even the avocado and kumquat trees return outside. The laptop unable to compete with the glare of the overhead sun, sulks in a curtained bedroom. The sewing machine and reading desk take over the dining table, only occasionally banished when rain sends barbeque crowds rushing in. This is the time of doors wide open to the garden and young thrushes hopping in looking for titbits Autumn is the time of muddy floors when tubers, potato and dahlia are brought in for washing to save hands from chilbains, and then comes the smell of soap suds and disinfectant because it is almost Christmas again.