A gardener must not feel sorry for himself, even in winter, and no matter how great the cause.
When I was a lad there was a man who had the most splendid garden around: the main axis was half a mile long and instead of an old tub with a rosemary leaning out of it (as ordinary gardeners have), he had seventeenth-century marble urns. If there was some plant you had mentally been saving up for to buy next year, you could be sure he had at least a dozen mature specimens of it in his woodland. But if you openly envied him his garden, it was clear he felt a bit abused because his fountains were not as good as those of the Villa d’Este and he could not grow rhododendrons like the ones at Ghiga and his camellias were nothing much to those at Middleton.
Which was perfectly true. But I thought at the time, I must never let anybody know I suffer because my ornamental water (a horse trough with a water lily in it) is less than I would like. Even the great gardens lack many things, and that should comfort us if our bird bath is not so blue or palm-fronded as the lake at Como. In a nutshell, I was sorry because I had no lorapetalum, and then I met a man who had no snowdrop.