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After a very busy January and exhausting (but successful) early February, here I am with more time and better weather. I spent a week getting frostbite in Hall 9 of the NEC in Birmingham, setting up for the International Spring Fair. This year we had a particularly big stand to build and dress, and managed to lose three members of staff due to man-‘flu, broken arms, and overdue resignation. Still, we survived, despite husband and I getting home through the snow at midnight the night before the show opened. We dragged our bleary selves back to Birmingham after 5 hours’ sleep, and so commenced 5 days of smiling and selling. I think I’ve just about recovered, and yesterday embarked on the monumental task of clearing and digging the allotment ready for planting. Ok, not that monumental, but still, hard work!

I’ve already sown some vegetable seeds in trays, and hope that the little plastic greenhouse is warm enough for them to germinate. We’ve started planning our garden in earnest now too. There’s so much to do though, it’s hard to know where to start. I really want to be at the stage where everything is cleared, ready to be dug over and planted up; except I fear that stage may never materialise. I think I may have to content myself with doing a bit at a time, and clearing one little bit and planting that before moving on to the next job. The major things that need doing first include: demolishing the old lily pond to make space for my studio, (building my studio), building some new steps, removing the old pond filter, digging a very large hole to install a new one, and making a shallow pond/rill for the filtered water to flow over. Not to mention lifting a huge amount of decking before we can even think about digging the herbaceous border!

One step at a time though, and this afternoon we’re going to do some more digging in the allotment. I planted onions and shallots yesterday, and emptied out the composts bin. I knew I’d neglected it, but was rather disappointed to discover that nothing had actually composted. So I’ll re-fill it in layers this time, adding a generous dose of activator on top of each.

In other news, my mum’s garden is bursting with spring bulbs all beginning to sprout – here are a few recent pictures:

Iris reticulata

Crocuses and snowdrops under the viburnum

And last summer’s teasels are still looking architectural in the winter sun… until they meet my secateurs next week!

Finally the sun is beginning to warm up, but it’s still scarf and gloves weather, even if I have abandoned the hat now!

And I do hope to post some photos of our garden soon, but at the moment, there’s not much to see…