One of the first things I always do when I return home after having been away is to go out into the garden and start to sweep, cut back and generally tidy up. Inside, the house might be centimetres deep in dust, the washing piling up in the laundry and the fridge bare, but the outside always comes first. My mother is exactly the same and Melissa also does it - it must be in the genes. This week I just had to prune the roses before doing anything else (well, I did manage to get some food in the fridge). This is the very last of the season's roses. She looks a little overblown but is, nevertheless, still beautiful. Now the garden looks horribly bare and depressing. I have only one little corner which has any colour The only good thing about pruning roses is the thought of all those beautiful blooms to look forward to in the spring. I have told the family that if I mention taking a trip to the rose farm to buy another rose they are to hide the car keys immediately. My fingers are covered in blisters and my arms are scratched. Fortunately, I quickly forget the pain. It's a bit like childbirth really - the outcome is worth all the agony!
The next thing I have to do is buy some flowers for the inside of the house. I always think that a house which hasn't been lived in for a few weeks has a very lonely abandoned look and feel about it. The best cure for this is fresh flowers - some for the inside and some for the outside. Now all I have to do is think of how to overcome the bareness in the garden. I know it is winter and we have to have some 'downtime' in the garden, but when it is 22 degrees and the sun is shining in a brilliant blue sky, it doesn't seem right somehow not to have flowers everywhere.