Today our first daffodil bloomed and I began to attack the great jumble of over-grown mallow branches along the bank that sweeps down from the edge of our (so-called) lawn.
Until now I've been nervous of the garden. Through last summer I eyed plants that I didn't recognise and remembered advice to see a garden through all its seasons. Yet at the same time the garden felt impoverished, with too little variety and not enough greenery. And where was the spread of colours and textures? Perhaps it's not surprising. After all, the house was only used as a holiday home.
It was Tod asking what should we do about the mess of branches on the bank; that and a sale of garden plants at Leclerc, which suddenly gave me the courage. We went to the supermarket yesterday for weekend shopping and came out with a trolley piled high with pots of forsythia, viburnum, syringa, cotoneaster, laurel, ribes, deutzia, weigela, ceanothus and tamarisk.
We will cut the mallow right back, clear the undergrowth and begin to plant a deep shrubbery along the bank. Perhaps some of the mallow will grow back. If so, it will become part of a rich tapestry of leaves, berries and flowers.
It is time to claim the garden as ours.