One of my favourite parts of the garden, though sadly little visited day-to-day is the 'shubbery'; the wild area right at the bottom of the garden, at the very front, where the drive passes by close through the gate and curves up and on, away to the house at the top of the hill.
The area is barricaded on it's South and West sides by great tall clumps of Rhodeodendron bushes thick, darkest green and dense with shiny, plasticy leaves. In Summer gorgeous fuscia pink blooms burst forth in convex towering masses.
The area is dominated by an ancient old pine; its sandy red coloured bark dry and dusty from age and sun, the ridges in it running deep and filled with decades of rotting needles, insects and a light covering of cobwebs.
A tyre swing used to hang from the main arterial branch which sticks out to the west like a great long limb. The tyre was always filled with detritus but if you were small enough, you could stand on it instead of sitting and swing the ancient rope back and forth in the sun.
This is the part of the garden first touched by Spring in the shape of the tiny white heads of the snowdrops in late Februray, sometimes March, which rise steadfast through cold and frost out of the hard earth to be followed shortly after by the sporadic spattering of croci, in purples and yellows by the little overgrown pond, and after by the resplendant Daffodils raising their majestic heads high above the green in bright egg-yolk yellow.
The bamboo tree sits all year round keeping close it's vertiginous crop. The ancient, secret paved path that I was fascinated with as a child runs around this area, cracked and mossy, and the series of three little ponds my father built in one of his first flushes of garden building, now slightly overgrown provide a great habitat for rushes and mulches and goodness knows what else.
There is a selection of other trees and bushes here too which make up the boundary of our home and rumble up slowly towards the house. One day a few weeks ago I picked a leaf from each one of these and drew them. Their beautiful different shades and shapes of green contrasting each other wonderfully. My idea is to either turn this into a print and/or to make a necklace, each leaf represented either in fabric or metal.