Time to search longingly through seed catalogues

SOUTHSEA GREEN: Trees going begging... come and get 'em

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I thought that it was getting warmer, but having just spent half-an-hour waving my daughter off on a school trip, I’m not so sure.

Still, phase one of the 2011 gardening plan has come together. We now have a fabulous pond, put together by local garden maintenance expert Claire Chambers.

She has also done a magnificent job of hacking back the overhanging shrub that was casting much shade over a couple of the beds.

So there is not much for me to do now except search longingly through seed catalogues for the easiest-growing, most prolific and fool proof vegetables, perfect for my less-than-expert hands.

Friends have started asking me what I plan to grow this year and I regale them with details of the unusual and more familiar crops that I hope to have.

Followed swiftly by a disclaimer announcing that they probably won’t grow anyway, given my track record.

Luckily, plenty of people have top tips for growing and maintaining various things and they are very willing to share them.

Before Christmas I received a wonderful letter from a reader with a great piece of advice on how to keep the cats at bay. Having suffered a similar fate, she had cut green wire netting into strips and laid it across the earth and plants.

Cats, it would seem, hate walking on it and so avoid it. Huge thanks to Anne Wearn for this tip – I will certainly be trying it out this year and I will let you know how I get on.