a not entirely imaginary review
A gardening obsessive mixes up a flower [codonopsis] with a woman he sees on a visit to Kew. Soon he’s seeing her at the botanical departments of the libraries and bookshops he customarily frequents; he’s inviting her home, to use his collection of rare botanical books; he’s watching her covertly as she works. Sometimes she brings with her a man who might or might not be her boyfriend, with whom she seems to fall out suddenly. After that she doesn’t talk much. Then she stops coming and he discovers that she has drawn all over the illustrations in his beautiful books and left him the message “Only winter is true”.
David Rose’s Posthumous Short Stories, reviewed for the Guardian today.