In the depth of winter, colour recedes from the bach garden. But a new note is struck. Snowdrops hang their little bells so sweetly. I feel as fresh as a maiden when I look at them.

 Rangiora nonchalantly flips over a leaf, to show the silver underside. One year I wrote clues in ballpoint pen on the silver side, then rolled them into little scrolls for my granddaughter’s treasure hunt. She’s 19 now and has been too old for such trifles over past years, but there’s a little one who will enjoy finding letters on rangiora leaves when she’s old enough to read.

 A nikau palm reaches up to a silver sky,

and a flax bush throws out its silver-sided leaf.

In winter, even the colours become simple.

But there is one contrasting note. This golden kowhai tree, which flowers well ahead of its spring due date, was planted on the whenua/placenta of my first granddaughter, who died at 6 weeks old. On July 21 it will be the anniversary of the sad day when she left this world, twenty years ago.

Life is precious; the next generation is precious, and the gold and silver of nature reminds me to be grateful.