A winter wonderland.

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This morning we woke up to a world transformed. All night the flakes had been falling slowly and settled on every surface, transforming our land into a picture perfect space, full of natural beauty.  It is by far the most snow we have had since moving into our place nearly five years ago and we went out early to capture the magic on camera.

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Everything looked different covered in snow.  The natural spirals and twists in the branches of our contorted hazels and willows stood out in relief against the white and made us think about Japanese art and calligraphy.

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Winter had come to the tree trunk house for the little people in the old ash. All was still and quiet as we lingered for a while, thinking about all the snowdrop and bluebell bulbs resting under the thick blanket of soil and snow. Soon enough they will push upwards, ready to burst into delicate beauty once more.

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Our tree house looks quite inviting and we might climb up the ladder later this afternoon and drink a cup of hot chocolate up there, wrapped in a warm blanket.

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We walked down the garden path towards the willow dome and were struck by the way the shapes of the twisted branches showed up in a completely new way, giving the structure quite an architectural feel. It is an enjoyable space even at this time of year and all our garden birds like to take refuge in there, safe among the close-knit branches and twigs.

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The main circle was a perfect white shape contrasting with all the planted trees and shrubs and we walked past it down towards the stream, gazebo and our two ponds.

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We planted alders in the first year after we moved in as they are excellent nitrogen fixers and also help dry out boggy land. After only a short time they have transformed the area in between our two ponds into thriving young woodland, complete with groundcover plants like mint and oregano. Today it felt like walking into a postcard when we ventured down the snaking path in the middle.

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Both ponds were covered in ice and the bamboo branches weighed down almost to ground level by the thick covering of snow. The living willow fence looked lovely.

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We ended our photographic tour of our winter wonderland in the small back garden where we found our 35 year old hawthorn bonsai looking absolutely stunning.

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Outside the front door we caught a glimpse of a few of the bravest birds that enjoyed their bird seed and berries despite our presence. Once we were back inside many more honed in on the feeders but, unfortunately, our windows are too dirty to capture their natural beauty through. You will have to imagine all the robins, chaffinches, blue tits, coal tits, sparrows, great tits, greenfinches and goldfinches that are out there at the moment. We think they are the best pets possible. They are independent, wild, great at catching insects in the summer and absolutely entertaining with their acrobatics and antics that we love to observe through the window and in the garden.

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