If there's a valuable lesson we can all learn from our gardens, it's that the natural world will not be rushed, cajoled or bullied. Things happen in nature's own sweet time when the season and weather are right. No amount of wishing this year made any difference to the sluggish start to spring but then when it did arrive all that momentum and energy seemed to be condensed into a couple of weeks and then suddenly spring had been passed by and summer had arrived. And weren't we ready for it! Not just us either, the birds and bees too, to say nothing of the plants. The vegetable seeds I waited until April to sow sat in the cold frame and sulked for weeks, refusing point blank to germinate, so in desperation I sowed some more at the end of May and in two days they were away, their little shoots uncurling in the unaccustomed sunshine. Now that I have the luxury of a lovely cedar wood greenhouse the young plants have five star accommodation, relishing the warmth while the resident rabbits eye them up, noses pressed to the glass. My new garden and I are just getting to know one another and I have a lot to learn about its character which a mile and a steady climb uphill make so very different from my old one. Already I see evidence of a much more free draining soil in great swathes of red and white valerian, rows of perfect lavender and pinks in the formal borders and in the lawn lots more vetch and far fewer buttercups than my heavy damp clay had me used to. Eager as I am to get stuck in, clear the vegetable patch, dig a pond and move plants around, I know that in the long term for the sake of my back and our budding relationship I should hold back, bide my time and allow my garden to reveal itself to me over the seasons. It won't be easy but after all patience is a virtue so I'll do my best to try and cultivate that too.