Like so many people, I’ve been appreciating my garden more than ever over recent weeks, but my favourite moment has to be first thing in the morning, before anyone is up, pottering around in the fresh cool air, cup of tea in hand, inspecting plants for new leaves, buds and flowers.
There’s something particularly peaceful about that time, being alone in the garden, before the phone goes and there are emails to answer. It’s the calm hour, when as well as deadheading and watering (a good thing to do before the heat of the day), you really start to notice things. Having your breakfast in a sunny spot in the garden gives you time to think in peace – dream up new ideas for the garden or watch wildlife waking up, including the industrious bees and beautiful fluttering butterflies.
The light is incredibly beautiful in the morning – the sun is bright and clear but not glaring, it filters through petals, lighting up delicate leaves on plants like fennel and cosmos. Silver olive leaves glisten, colours have more clarity, green seems more intense, white hydrangeas more cool and lush.
Garden photographers know all about this. They’ll venture out at 4am to capture the magical light at sunrise when there’s dew on the grass and water droplets hanging off cobwebs. The last hour of sunlight is the other ‘golden hour’, when the setting sun gives off a warm glow, turning everything golden. If you’re more of an owl than an early bird, that might be your magical moment alone, when you can water and think, with the scent of jasmine infusing the air. You can swap your cuppa for a glass of wine at that time too!