It really is the most beautiful morning.
Sweet peas have been sown: Cupani, my all-time favourite, and Royal Wedding because I yearn for a pure white sweet pea this year. The pots are germinating in my daughter’s sunny bedroom. (Don’t worry, she isn’t here at the moment but she is coming home for a break next week – hooray.) I may even have room in my garden this year for a wigwam or two of sweet peas as I have finally taken the plunge and arranged for a 25-year-old laurel tree to be felled and its stump ground out. I am going to gain a big west-facing space on well-drained soil and I can hardly wait. I found Helen’s recent blog post on her plans for her front garden inspirational and think I may go for something more exciting than amelanchier or acer griseum, not that there is anything wrong with either of these small trees but I feel like pushing the boundaries a little.
Also in the garden I have been digging up dead stuff. This year I have lost Rosa ‘A Shropshire Lad’ and a purple-leaved acer grown from seed and planted in the garden about five years ago as a foot-high seedling. It had grown enormously in the last couple of years so perhaps it had simply out-paced itself or else it never recovered from last year’s summer drought. Never mind, both losses give me new planting opportunities.
Now for some news on the cottage. After much thought we have decided not to move in and we will hopefully sell it during the course of this year. The cottage and the garden and the location are all wonderful but the timing is wrong. I don’t want or need the challenge of running two houses and two gardens (not to mention my allotment) at this stage. We are lucky to live in a beautiful part of Surrey in the foothills of the North Downs and although the South Downs are equally special they are less than an hour from home and we can drive down and walk or cycle there whenever we want. I had a horrid premonition that I would spend all day Friday preparing to go to the cottage (instead of swimming, food shopping and allotmenteering) and that our weekends would be spent cleaning and mowing the grass… But that isn’t all. I also feel uncomfortable about owning two houses. It never occurred to me that I would feel like this until we had bought the cottage. When so many people are struggling to find a home it seemed wrong to own two. Looking on the bright side we have turned an uninhabitable and unloved 18th century listed cottage into a safe, warm, clean home which should appeal to a much wider set of buyers. Meanwhile work continues. Three workers are ‘blitzing through’ and laying new flooring today and I have a date for the pruning of the tulip tree. The property market is still slumbering but hopefully as we get closer to Easter there will be interest. It’s been a tough lesson, but sometimes life is tough and we have to learn the hard way. No one’s died, we still have our health and humour (just) and life goes on. As the estate agent has just said, we bought a cottage, we did it up and it’s now going back on the market – it happens all the time. Meanwhile I have lots to keep me busy and Spring, if my resident robins and toads and newts are anything to go by, is ready to burst.
Have you ever done anything you subsequently regretted. How did you feel? Did it work out in the end? I’d love to know.