Measuring the changes in the seasons by breaking shoots and fattening buds is something all gardeners share. It’s the encouragement we need to remain optimistic as the chilly March winds blow . Winter is nearly behind us, spring just round the corner and then it will be summer with all its blissful flowery fullness.

If it stays cold and I need a bit of reassurance, then I go through photographs of gardens I’ve designed. They are usually taken in mid summer, preferably on a good day. After all, as well as a visual record for me, they are my shop window so I like to display the results of my designs at their sunny best.
They also give potential new clients faith and confidence in my abilities, knowing that the beautiful gardens they can see in them have grown and blossomed from the seeds of ideas developed and drawn up as plans.

It’s in this same spirit of confidence and faith in nature that we go out and buy packets of seed. It’s amazing to think that those tiny specks of dust and parcels of genetic material will become flamboyant silky headed poppies, shimmering white saucers of cosmos or sprawling nasturtiums. What incredible reward we get for such little effort and a bag of compost.

When it comes to growing vegetables it’s incredible value for money too. So easy to grow yet expensive to buy, runner beans are an absolute essential for me and one day I’m going to weigh the crop from one bean plant just to calculate the return on my investment in one bean seed.
My dad had even better value for his money, he always saved his bean seeds form one year to the next, driven as much by his ‘careful’ nature as the fashion of the time.

Gardens and plants are as prone to the whims of fashion as anything else we can be convinced to buy, but there’s one at the moment I’m all in favour of.
From the rise in popularity of vegetable growing it seems to be the current one and what a great way to use your patch of land.
Good for the body, good for the soul and good for the environment, as long as you garden organically of course.
It can’t be done with anything other than a spirit of optimism and I can’t think of any better way to prepare yourself and your garden for summer.