Exceedingly wet and windy this morning with huge waves on the sea and rain lashing against the windows. My walk with the dog was not a long one and, funnily enough, she didn’t seem to mind. As I write, the sun is doing its best to come out and I can hear great tits with their distinctive ‘teecher-teecher-teecher’ spring call. The sea has also calmed down and has turned from dramatic steel-grey to a much more positive-looking, pale, blue-green sea colour. On days like this, I can’t help but look forward to being able to throw open the doors and windows.

Nine months on and the new steps down to the back door are looking quite weathered. We used reclaimed London bricks for the risers and the planters each side (so they didn’t look too out of place against the old garden wall) and York stone for the treads. The planting was done in a flurry of activity last June during the week between the builders leaving and my mother’s 70th birthday garden party (in our garden…). We filled the beds with Erysimum, Cosmos atrosanguineus (which has the most delicious chocolate scent), bright red and pink pelargoniums, Salvia ‘Hot Lips’, and a gorgeous red Achillea. Box balls and rosemary provided some evergreen punctuation.

The Erysimum and Salvia are still there and doing well (although the Salvia needs cutting back now), the Achillea is growing again and cuttings from the pelargoniums are hopefully growing in the greenhouse. The only plant that didn’t survive was the cosmos. The planters are now full of tulips, some of them scented, including ‘Ballerina’, ‘Brown Sugar’, ‘Antraciet’ and ‘Tambour Maitre’. The thought of opening the door to their colourful flowers cheers me up no end.

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