Following on from the butchers yesterday we made our pilgrimage into Bicester for the vegetables but completely forgot to pick up our passport application forms… ggrrr! Emma had ordered some barerooted trees and shrubs from Buckingham Nurseries and so, as it was a gorgeous, crisp, cold and clear winter’s day we decided to head off for a walk around Stowe before collecting them.

And the light was gorgeous. The kind of light that makes you feel good about the cold. They’ve also recently rebuilt a wooden bridge to complete the lakeside walk which is a gorgeous, traditional build of oak frame and pegs construction. Today’s trip will probably be the last time we approach the gardens from the Oxford Avenue approach, as the opening of the new New Inn/Grand Avenue approach is imminent.

We discovered too, that the Gothic Temple which we’ve long admired is actually a holiday rental from The Landmark Trust, although at 800 quid for about 3 nights! And it would be damn cold in winter up there on the hill with all that glass. Looks nice though, inside…

Back at the garden centre, we collected the plants, four dogwoods and a Chinese Rowan tree to transform the front garden, where two years ago we cut down the leylandii. I also treated us to a witchhazel for that splash of winter colour. It will always remind me of that day we visited the actual Green Knowe – when Tolly first arrives at Green Knowe in the books in the middle of winter he has never seen flowering dead twigs!