A crisp, cold, sunny day and finally we woke up to the dawn light streaming through the open windows. Needed a warm hat for walking round the garden, though, and I’m about to put an extra layer on. A rose that I forget exists, until it flowers, is coming into bloom now. No-one is quite sure what it is. I took it as a cutting from a friend’s garden and she’d forgotten the name, but I think it might be ‘Excelsa’ – a form of red ‘Dorothy Perkins’. Whatever it is, it’s a tough little beast, now rambling through a berberis, a hydrangea, a cherry tree and several hazels and beginning to push through a giant miscanthus with its tiny, shiny leaves and pale green stems. Sadly, it has no scent and is prone to mildew, but at least it provides a dash of colour at this time of year and is seemingly unkillable despite the rabbit warren excavated under it. Today’s threads are variegated orange, variegated purple/lemon and variegated blue cotton perlés no 5, and six-strand cottons in shades of green, variegated green and three shades of pink, sewn with one, two and three strands. The stitches are Palestrina stitch with added running stitch for the heart, stem stitch for the stems, leaf stitch for the leaves, granitos stitch for the buds, detached chain for the sepals and irregular, whipped spider wheel with added knots for the flowers.