IN the deep snow of winter in Indiana, USA, I would think of Cornwall and the fields of yellow daffodils heralding the spring. We were lucky if we saw green before March as the snow turned to ice and eventually patches of grey mush.
Here, in between rainstorms and rainbows, we head out through the lanes to look for glimpses of daffodils, catkins and pussy willows. My family would call me on the snowy days, and tell me about these spring delights and I would go to work in my basement classroom just a little bit homesick.
Indiana is flat farming land. Cornfields are beautiful in their own right, starting their year with perfect rows of green soldiers as far as the eye can see. At the end of the summer on our drive to school my son shouted "Deer" and out of the shoulder-high corn came a large buck and his girls. Frozen in time I saw his eye focus on me as his antler glanced off my car, and then they were gone. Heart-stopping.
In the fall the corn had a musky smell and at night became a wonderland of fireflies, and when cut in October the dried leaves would float out of the sky.
I tried to grow an English garden in the soil made concrete by perma-frost and baking heat. There were many hazards. The mosquitoes loved fresh English blood and there must have been poison ivy somewhere in my garden that almost caused me to quit. I am so thankful I am in England again where my worst problems are slugs and rain.
I come from a gardening family, my grandfather a market gardener with a huge walled garden and a robin he threw worms to. My favourite book was The Secret Garden and I grew up in this magical place where my mother had before me.
We love to visit the gardens of Cornwall: Godolphin, for bluebells and primroses; Trengwainton, for camellias and magnolias; and Glendurgan, for children, with its maze, rope swing and beach. These bring to mind another childhood book, The Flower Fairies.
Make the most of this glorious countryside.