Hi Debbie

 Just wondered how your thoughts on the garden were going?  Have those vegetable catalogues got any flowers in them too?  Those catalogues are a wonderful way of gardening in the winter – dreaming of what your garden might look like in the summer.  I must admit that I am not a “bedding” person, so much in those spring catalogues leaves me cold, but there are a few that have perennials as well. 

 The one annual that I tend to go for each year is Cosmos.  They perform so well, flowering their little heads off.  Last year mine kept going until the beginning of November, and all that they need is regular dead heading – I do it a couple of times a week (all the more for the compost bin). 

 I am rubbish at growing seeds, I never seem to have any luck with them.  Luckily these days there are so many ways of buying annuals, from mini plugs, all the way up to garden ready plants.  You obviously pay more as they get older and there is less risk of them failing but they are still remarkably good value for money.  The other great thing about annuals is that you can use them to fill in spaces as your garden grows up.  New gardens look so sad when they are empty, waiting for other plants to mature around them..

 Then of course at this time of year my thoughts turn to spring flowering plants.  Yes, bulbs had to go in last autumn, but there are still some wonderful plants that you can buy and pop straight in the ground. 

My favourite is the hellebore.  They tolerate most soil conditions and their flowers make you just want to stare and stare at them.  Some people put them in bowls of water so that they can appreciate them indoors.  The plants aren’t cheap (probably around £9.00), but once you have a few in your garden and fall in love with them then you can always buy a few more each year – that’s what I do.

 Hellebores aren’t the only choice – snowdrops, primroses, cyclamen and many other wonderful plants are just thinking of waking up.

 So, how are your dreams going?

 Best Wishes