There is something about the February half term week tat gets me every year. Bulbs are emerging, glimmers of Spring warmth fill the air and suddenly and finally one can look ahead to Spring. This year has perhaps been a little extreme with blossom and daffodils out and unseasonably warm weather. But it is the anticipation of things to come....
Choosing seeds is always a joyful task, and hanging out in my greenhouse where every action is filled with hope that this year will be different. There is a possibility that my beetroots might actually look like the ones on the seed packet and my cut flower beds like Sarah Raven's.
The reality is of course somewhat different, as the Summer progresses I spend far too much time clocking jobs that need doing then ever getting around to them, so that generally by the beginning of July when that sweet Spring green is over I look at my garden in despair. It dawned on me a couple of years ago that I really just don't enjoy my garden in the Summer as it leaves me feeling overwhelmed and frustrated that I can't seem to make the time to get cracking in it.
The other perennial problem is holiday timings. Going away when something is just prime for harvesting is something we seem to be very good at, and then we miss the whole crop after all those hours of planting in the greenhouse, planting out, weeding and watering. Alternatively our crops get eaten, I don't think I have ever managed to grow broad beans successfully, they are always devastated by black fly but I keep trying year after year as I love them. Weirdly the one vegetable that never fails is the courgette. Here I find myself frantically picking them so I don't end up with huge marrows. There is only so much stuffed marrow one can eat and there is only so much you can do with a courgette. Ideas welcome?
So is it all worth it? well of course it is when the tomatoes can be picked from the greenhouse and taste so much sweeter than anything you can buy, vases of fragrant flowers fill the house, the beans, the beetroot and of course the strawberries. My favourites are the one we don't have to do anything with like the figs and plums when their magic moment arrives.
As I child I used to find the garden so boring. My Mother would take friends and family on a tour and we seemed to be dragged along as well, it seemed the dullest occupation. Now I wish I'd listened more as my gardening knowledge would be a lot better than it is now. Then I reached middle age and had a garden of my own and it suddenly became the most riveting subject.
Anyway I am getting ahead of myself and I'm just thrilled that it is all ahead of us, and of course this year is going to be a huge success...