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Open for spring

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Hidcote Manor Garden
Image: Howard Maunders / Beautiful Britain

Life is heartbreaking. A garden gives balm, and balm is the special gift of the English garden.

This is not because there is no death in a garden, for we know there is, but because the garden accepts death as part of the gift of life.

Life and beauty are constantly being reborn in a garden. As the phoenix-eyed white daffodils begin to die, the buds of the peony swell, revealing crimson interiors. The birds who fought to survive the ice and snow of winter are building nests. The wintry beech is suddenly a mist of red, and close up reveals to my delight thousands of tiny pom-poms hanging from its branches.

Nettles grow, too, and thistles. The garden invites work, and in garden work we can forget our miseries. The garden embodies the fruitful paradox that there is always too much to do and that whatever I do makes a difference. . .

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