1. Winter Garden
Best time of the year is winter. Everything nicely done up for the cold under a thick mulch, an’ you know that under there things are resting after late summer bloom, or already thinking about Spring. An Afteryule stroll around Mr Bilbo’s garden can be a real treat on a fine day after a frost. Not much left to do this time o’ the year so there’s time to look and appreciate and remember.
Snowdrops are pushing though already, won’t be long before they’re bending their heads ready for flower. I love snowdrops, they’re so soft and pure and delicate, but they stand up to the worst that’s thrown at them. That smooth, clear white puts me in mind of…..
Some of Mr Bilbo’s fancy hellebores are already starting to flower. Beats me how they manages in the cold. First year after planting, me an’ Dad were right sorry when they collapsed in the bad frost after Yule, but when we asked Mr Bilbo to come and see if there was something we should have done different, he just smiled and said it was time for elevenses. And when we went back outside, there they were standin’ up proud again. And the colours! Well, I don’t ‘spect you’d notice them so much in the summer with so much else to compete with them, but they make the long cold of Afteryule and Solmath a better place, with their pinks and whites and purples and yellows. No end of patterns inside some of ‘em, too: some has quite large speckles, and some just a dusting like. I made a nice sheltered spot for the really rare one that’s smoky blue like Mr Frodo’s eyes turn when he’s ...
There’s already a few flowers showing on the lungwort; on’y the coral one, as yet o’course. Such a warming colour this time o’ the year, like the most delicious lips you ever kissed…. Them as flower a bit later on come in all blues and purples, and some of ‘em turns pink afore they finishes. Last one to flower here is a really piercing blue that I saw in an old garden over to Michel Delving one day, and I knew I had to have it… for Mr Bilbo’s garden. Cost me a fair bit of Old Toby that did, but it were worth every leaf. Blues like that are few and far between and not on’y in the garden neither. I had to get that blue corydalis too, for spring, and the one with the smoky purple leaf – sets off the flowers no end, to my way o’ thinking. Like shadows under eyes worn out wi’ too much reading by candlelight…
Aye, there’s a lot to be said for the garden in winter. Once I’ve cleared all the summer’s growth and the fallen leaves to compost, you see the strong clear lines of it; without all the frills and furbelows, as you might say, You realise it has a naked beauty all of its own. You see under the trappings to the heart and strength beneath, and there’s rare quality hidden there.
A/N: I hope one day to have a link to a page on my website, showing all the flowers I mention in my stories - for the horticulturally challenged!
This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.