As much as I love being knee deep in weeds and hacking back hedges, I also quite like tucking the tools away in the shed around November time and having a break. I completely switch out of gardening; don't even look for a few months. Trouble is it can be hard to get going again.
That seems to be were I am at the moment, not exactly bursting with green fingered enthusiasm, but give me a few bright, dry days outside, and I'll creak into gardening gear.
And I've made a start. The weather's definitely picked up - no more excuses - so out we went first thing, me and my keen little garden helper.
As expected there's masses to do - jobs everywhere we looked. All the flowerbeds are choked with layers of dead stems and leaves; but peeping out, some hopeful little signs of what's to come - dainty snowdrops, pink hellebores and bright, sunny aconite.
My daughter genuinely seems to enjoy gardening. The boys will hang about for a few minutes, feigning interest, before slinking off when they know I'm distracted; but their sister doesn't get bored so quickly - she's inquisitive and keen to learn. I hope that stays with her.
I didn't get the gardening bug until we moved here, and I'm pretty sure it's one of the things that kept me sane when the kids were tiny and my husband was away. We'd just moved, I was tied to the house, knew absolutely no one, and being outside seemed to help when things got on top of me. Even 10 minutes in the garden could make a difference.
It helped last year too.
There are certain jobs my daughter always associates with gardening. She has her own small flowerbed that she makes a beeline for, and is an obsessive waterer, regardless of the weather or how sodden the earth is. She is also a top weeder: we've had a few accidents - uprooted geraniums and daisies, but on the whole she's now quite good at knowing which ones to pull out and likes weeding between the cracks of the paving stones. Very useful little helper!
But the other great pleasure of being in the garden with her is she notices things I miss, because I tend to get bogged down with the more mundane stuff when I'm out on my own. It's a time to explore and appreciate the garden, without thinking about the next bed to be cleared or the next barrow-load of weeding. We often have a quick nature hunt, gathering up bits and pieces lying about - and I can't remember how this started, but all the finds usually end up being made into imaginative little 'nests'.
I come across them sometimes in various random places around the garden - they remind me to stop clearing/cutting/planting for a moment, and to just enjoy being out there.
Linking up with Counry Kids from Coombe Mill