winter gardens

Yesterday, powered by oats (no surprises there!) I spent the afternoon roaming the neighbourhood I lived in as a teenager. With only traces of snow on the ground, and an abundance of oak leaves exposed, it looked as though we’d returned to autumn. I ended up at Spadina House, a stately manor (now museum) dating back to the late 1800s. And being a weekday, I had the grounds to myself. The garden beds lay dormant of course, but many of the perennials boasted their sturdy, beautiful, winter shapes. It was peaceful walking through the gardens, side-stepping patches of snow and marshy ground, with only the sound of the wind and a few grey squirrels for company. There wasn’t a groundskeeper in sight and no doubt any museum staff were keeping warm indoors, but I felt as though a Dowager Countess might be peering from a window, watching my every move from behind the curtains. With Casa Loma just beyond the garden’s stone walls, its highest turret visible through bare branches, the castle vision was complete.

The wind was deceptively cold but there was sunshine and a flawless blue sky—no small feat for January. Clouds moved in, shifting shapes, as hints of grey streaked the sky. And by late afternoon my fingers stung against the ice-cold metal of the camera. Home to tea, as always, with hot chocolate and the last of the gingerbread for Number Four.

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