In fairness to lazy me, there's really been nothing special to record in pictures. Not so anyone passing by would sit up and take notice. I guess that's the bind with a new garden - there still aren't enough plants and there's an awful lot of dirty work going on. But, in spite of the fact that I'm not tapping the old keyboard continually these days, things have been happening.
In the course of the last month I've completed my bareroot plantings for this winter: all of the coloured-stemmed willows, a little row of four Amelanchier lamarkii (where my husband didn't want them) and a Cornus mas (all purchased last year, with no time to plant them). The cornus brings back fine memories of mature specimens at Kew, although I doubt I'll live long enough to walk beneath its branches and sniff that sharp, sweet scent that always takes me back to winters as a student gardener, feverishly botanising in my lunch hour so I wouldn't make a fool of myself in the test that we endured every fortnight.
My little bareroot Spiraea x vanhouttei had virtually no roots at all when I dug it up from its temporary home. Perhaps the water voles have eaten them? I realise now that the landscaping fabric I've been using is a favourite place for the voles, who adore walls and slopes (in France these days they often set up home quite far from the water). I use it as a temporary cover in areas I want to begin to cultivate, and then lift it off to get going. When I took it away from the second area on the veggie plot there were many little telltale holes, evidence of a happy vole population (and a threat to the gardener's peace of mind).
And so, I find myself in the same mindset as this time last year - walking round suspiciously eyeing up all the little holes I see in my borders. I think most are innocent enough. Although I've found more tulips lying on the surface than I did last year. Only time - about a month? - will tell.
I've bought so many snowdrops in my time (as well as being given them by some expert galanthophiles when I still lived in England) - but you really need to settle to enjoy them. I always swore I'd add three new types every year (they are expensive, aren't they?), but 2014 might be the exception.
Finally, there's nowhere left to hide. I've completed the heavier work that I could afford this winter (except for clearing away the rubbish - I can still do that!). The most pressing task is now the terracing of the vegetable garden. There are already young seedlings sprouting that are going to want to get out there and carve some sort of life for themselves in my mud during March.
In the course of an afternoon I mostly battled the cold north-east wind (although the thermometer showed an incredible 5 degrees), pruned and tied in roses - and relished the tiny bit of sun that's waking all those plants up too early.