The garden looks very bleak at the moment; grey and brown, forlorn and hibernating. We decided to give it some jewellery to brighten it up a little as the day begins.
Inspired by an idea in Landscape magazine, we’ve been taking advantage of the sub-zero nights this week to practice a little magic; leaving shallow saucers of water outside overnight, filled with seed heads, citrus slices and cyclamen buds. When we came downstairs in the morning, we popped out beautiful frozen disks of colour that looked like they could be necklaces for some majestic ice maiden, or perhaps serving dishes for a fantastical snowy picnic..
I carefully poured a thin stream of hot water to melt a hole in each disk, and then we strung them from the apple tree in our garden and watched the sun slowly rise and shine through them. Beautiful, just for a few amazing minutes. Most we left to melt in the sunshine; a couple we slipped into the freezer so we could save them a little longer…
These are of course only transient; beautiful and then gone. Half the magic is in the anticipation of going to bed and wondering what you will wake up to find; will the bowls have frozen? What do the different things you’ve added look like? It was definitely fun for an otherwise chilly, bleak day, when even The Little House was too covered in frost to look inviting for long.
We found that wide-based yoghurt tubs, frying pans and plastic lids were the most successful; avoid using china that might shatter in extreme cold. You need about 1/2 inch of water; try adding food colouring for even prettier effects. To loosen the disks, I placed them quickly in a sink of shallow warm water. And of course, if you find that your disks haven’t completely frozen overnight, you can cheat by finishing them off in the deep freeze!