Dreaming of what could be is my favourite part

Polyanthus: dig them up when they finish blooming.

BRIAN KIDD: on how to save polyanthus and potted roses

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Apparently the weather is getting warmer and the days are getting longer. But the soggy weather does not do much to lift the spirits, and I was beginning to feel the grim grip of winter sapping my enthusiasm for all things outdoors.

However, the other evening, whilst I was cooking the family evening meal, something at the back door caught my eye. It was a frog! Attracted by the bright lights and sumptuous smells of my mushroom and chick pea burgers (yes, really), it had appeared at the kitchen door. The children, excited, opened the door and it instantly leapt inside and made for the dishwasher.

I can assure you that no harm came to the amphibian and it was duly encouraged back to its natural environment, but it did have the effect of making me realise that despite the gloominess, life is being fooled that it is getting warmer and spring may be just around the corner.

Consequently, the pond is having its makeover this week and the overhanging shrub will be cut back.

A tree surgeon will make an assessment of the sycamore tree and help with all the paperwork required (we are in a conservation area).

Next on the list will be perusing the seed catalogues and dreaming of verdant beds and abundant harvests, jars of chutney and wholesome meals from our own garden.

Of course the reality is usually very different. But this is one of my favourite parts of gardening – dreaming of what could be without the hard toil.

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