Thursday, 17 January 2013

White-out and Zebras

Essence of winter:  that’s what I’d call it if I could bottle snowflakes combined with white winter scented plants and the type of frost that almost sticks to everything in sharp jabbing finger-shapes.  Though with the rate at which snowflakes disappear, even Dr Cable’s new superfast patenting  service wouldn’t be able to keep up.   Part of his aim is to help small businesses understand how to gain a return on  their creativity.  The other side of his campaign is to crack down on intellectual property theft:  something the new designers launching themselves at February’s London Fashion Week may rapidly have to get to grips with as their designs get splashed across the media. 

My choice for a patent would not be to everyone’s taste.  Only other spinners would understand the perfumed attraction of “Eau de Fleece” drying on the radiators after being washed.  And perhaps only other gardeners would truly appreciate the deeply heady scents of winter plants, which in my garden peep out and grab you by the nose from hiding places in the snowy borders.  You just get a hint of the three different Sacrococca varieties I have as you walk past, S. confusa and S. ruscifolia in shady spots and S. hookeriana in a sunnier corner as it needs more light.  My other half though thinks their scent is akin to burning plastic!  Happily, there’s plenty of choice when it comes to winter scent in the garden.  

I’ve just acquired my first Daphne,  Daphne odora, whose buds are full of promise.  But there’s one more winter plant I’d like to add to my collection, the less well-known white-flowered and intensely-scented Viburnum x bodnantense ‘Deben’.  Alongside the snowdrops and Sacrococcas, that would just complete my scented winter white-out outside.  Indoors too I’m looking at white colours, in trying to decide how best to replicate in fleece some white zebra stripes for a new yarn I’m making for Textiles in Focus in February.  Maybe I’ll get some inspiration from the BBC’s fascinating series ‘The History of Art in three colours’. Last week’s colour was blue:  this weekend it’s white.

When you look closely as the interface between the black and white stripes on pictures of zebra, defining them is not quite so...well, black-and-white. There are all kinds of graduations of brown and cream in there to.  It’s like the snow and ice outside, varying hugely in colour with the daylight’s intensity (or lack of it).   I’ll have to go for a happy medium and hope that works.  Here’s wishing you a brilliant winter week, with sufficient light to see all things clearly, and a perfumed path to smooth your way.   

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