The Spring Garden, New Life and Puppies


We have had two momentous events this week. The first was Evee having her puppies, an occasion when the excitement chez nous reached fever pitch, and the second was a change in the weather, a fairly dramatic turnaround that had our first big heatwave of the year changing the garden and its landscape almost overnight. The first true flush of summer and really warm air sent our plants and trees into a slow motion frenzy of activity. There was an explosion of life; branches and twigs whose fists of buds had been tightly clenched against the cold for so long suddenly unfurled in a frantic rush, desperate to stretch out and absorb the heat from the sun. Hedgerows turned from brown to green and the entire garden changed within a matter of hours. I don’t think I have ever seen such a dramatic transformation in so little time.


Spring is that time of year when a resurgent energy returns to the land after the dormant winter months – something so forceful that nothing can stop it, and every time I enter our property at the moment I am reminded of nature’s power; every day new life is emerging and it is blissful to know that all is well with the seasons and the warmth is coming back.


It is the time once again when fragrant flowers from the wisteria perfume the air….



….and the horse chestnut majestically takes centre stage, its flowers tilting their heads upwards towards the sun, proud and strong.


Its spreading branches provide the perfect shade against those strong first rays of the year, the sneaky shafts of sunlight that catch one totally unawares and turn pale skins of delicate English roses a less than subtle shade of pink!


Everywhere we turn right now there is vigorous growth


The Virginia creeper is once again cloaking our walls, framing archways and smothering one side of the house. P7380382

When we first moved here the garden was already well established; this and the ancient trees clinched the sale, these were key factors that we fell in love with. Interiors one can change, but 500 year-old trees, even with ‘all the money in China’, simply cannot be replicated. However, there was still some room for adding a few personal touches. We wanted to create rooms and special places, so one would feel as if one was always walking in a secret garden. I wanted to include several different places to eat in the shade,


and places where, given the time, one could relax. Places that felt calm and serene for both two legged and four legged creatures!


We were also keen to encourage the garden to take on a slightly less formal look, despite the size of the area I wanted to lean towards a style rather more of a cottage garden than the manicured and sometimes slightly austere perfection of a French manoir. I am more than happy to let the cow parsley mingle with the peonies. I love the moss on the old cobbles and the Lily of the Valley which appears, quite miraculously at the end of April every year.


In France, the 1st of May is a public holiday, officially it is labour day, La Fête du Travail but it is also La Fête du Muguet, the day when the French give their loved ones a bunch of Lily of the Valley. My mother carried a bouquet of these delicate white flowers on her wedding day many decades ago.P7380623

One of the easiest ways to promote a little romanticism in the garden is with archways. I have embraced the stone ones which were already in existence and added a few more, carefully training plants in the right direction, so that one has to duck a little to walk where the prunus and tamarisk meet.


Our garden has to appeal to not just me but all of us. Whilst I look lovingly at the stone walls and the church in the background, the children are drawn to the swings, their wrought-iron frame is still rigid and strong despite being perhaps fifty-plus years of age, bringing to mind that frequently quoted phrase, “they don’t make them like they used to”.


I can’t quite put my finger on what it is exactly that I love about the sight of the church tower from our garden.  But there is something that I find quite wonderful about it. Perhaps because I grew up on a farm in the middle of nowhere, or perhaps it is a secret yearning for village life that has now been fulfilled. Maybe for me the sign of a church in the village, and being within striking distance of it, signifies that we live in the heart of a community. I suspect it is an amalgamation of all of these things; the only thing I know for sure is that I am extremely content with its close proximity.


I love the stone walls that surround us, and which separate our garden from our close friends, the neighbours.


This early in the year our garden is not yet a riot of colour; blues blend with the sky and pinks resemble spring sunsets, but for the most part the dominant colour is green, and all its shades are the vibrant bright hues of youth.


It really is incredible to think that this time last month we were standing in snow, doors and windows tightly shut against the cold, and at night shutters were closed to keep out the chill. And yet here we are, a month later, and we are welcoming the cool air inside and inhaling the sweetest perfumes of Spring.


Cycling has also taken a seasonal turn as the farm tracks are once again dry enough to facilitate easy movement for thin tyres, and a little off-roading is possible once more.


Exploring the countryside like this in turn delivers its own sweet rewards. There is a wild lilac tree I know in the middle of nowhere; it is overgrown, neglected and quite abandoned. Each year however, it produces the most fragrant blooms. It cannot be reached by car but only by bike, and needless to say, great bundles find their way back into our house.


Which brings me neatly back into our garden! Some of you may recall the green wire fence which separated the chicken-garden from the rest of our property. In the winter I had an idea, one of those moments when I express a few thoughts and I can hear Roddy thinking, “Oh no, this is going to mean a lot of work!”.  I decided that we should change the wire for a traditional post-and-rail fence and I started hunting locally for an old wrought-iron gate. Fortunately luck was on my side and I found just what I was looking for not too many miles away – and for an exceedingly reasonable price!


Roddy admitted that when ‘Operation Fence’ began  he could not see why I wanted to change a perfectly good barrier for another. But he did have the good grace to charmingly say that when the job was complete he totally saw my point of view; it looks a zillion times better. Even a chicken fence can be romantic!


And so back to Event Number One. Yesterday was a very long, slightly dramatic day with the arrival of Evee’s puppies. This started with an unexpected bang at 7am and continued until 6pm, and our final result was seven wonderful miracles of life, a writhing squealing bundle of perfect Jack Russell puppies. The photo below is when the oldest is a few hours old and the youngest perhaps just an hour old, taken quickly in the evening when Evie stepped outside for a few minutes and we were able to take a quick photo of them all visible at once.  I am not sure who is the proudest, our family or Evee.


106 thoughts on “The Spring Garden, New Life and Puppies

  1. Though the garden is stunningly beautiful, the last picture brought tears to my eyes. This week I had to release my 15 year old sweet dog from her suffering – a task I never wanted to be responsible for. How I wish I could adopt one of your precious new babies.
    So much excitement. All circling about new life!!! Even the church speaks of new life.

    1. Our hearts are with you, Gigi. So many of us know the pain of losing a dear companion and the wrenching decision made from love.
      …And thank you, Susan, for your appreciative heart and your artist’s eye, so generously sharing with us the beauty and goodness you see and help to create. You and your family are a treasure.
      :). Adelia

    2. Oh Gigi, I am so sad to hear that….how terrible, i sympathise entirely – we’ve had several dogs so have an idea of what you have gone through. And yes, you will need a new dog, to ease the pain and to make your former dog’s existence complete – it’s a funny way to look at it, but looking after animals is all about cycles – we are but the rocks in the middle so many of our smaller friends base their existence on but the cycle must continue – they need us as much as we need them. Mourn but a while, but do search for another companion. If we could we would send you one of these, with all of our blessings.

  2. aaaahhhhh – I KNEW IT….. I just knew it! What a beautiful, happy, joy-filled, wonderful, gracious, brilliant post with the BESTEST news since a long, long time!
    BRAVO Evie; well done – I want to pop over to cuddle her and her babies – How very wonderful this is. And the mother is well too I hope!
    Your garden: Again, I honestly coulnd’t have done better 😉 I have been sending little WhatsApp photos with running comments to all my garden-crazed friends all of the last days. Same experience as you had, but on a slightly different scale/composition.
    The growth speed was SCARY. HH had to buy in great panic a new lawnmower. He had managed to ‘kill’ the very good one we had for quite a number of years on his last cut in early NOvember…. The stuff has grown some 20-25cm seemingly overnight. The 250+ tulips were – all of a sudden – completely dried out on their stems, petals strewn any old way, the weeds have completely taken over everything, the peonies are wide open (for once no rain has spoiled the fun), all the lilacs are perfuming the air as are the wisteria, several shrubs and bushes. The bluebells are ‘gone’ already, the spring bulbs too, the hydrangeas are pushing their leaves. One of our tilleuls had already a light green habit and the other one added in one day a whole new wardrobe…. With all the blessings all my allergies have returned with great speed too, it’s particularly bad as one would assume, given the abundance of growth.
    Oh I could go on and on – but I mustn’t….
    THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart for this best post EVER. Every photo is a treat, I can see, smell and enjoy the bounty and I’m so happy NOT to be chez vous right now as most of everything you show me (incl the chestnut flowers) are poison for me – as is my garden too!!

    1. Hi KIKI!! I am so glad you enjoyed this, and Roddy and I laughed long and hard at the lawn mower episode! I can just imagine his excitement at having a new toy. Our bluebells have gone too, we had two days of unseasonal heat that really wilted them, so quick too. I’ll try and post more photos, of course, but our lime trees are well green today. It’s all happening so fast…. And thank you for your best wishes for Evee and her pups – they’re all still well and everything looks fine! I’ll send you an e-mail later and tell you all XXX

      1. Please do…. you have so many things to update me with!
        I have news too – maybe we’ll have a quick natter to exchange it all?
        You know, I’ve just come back to take another eye full of the joys you so marvellously presented. EVERY single photo is a treat and a joy. I LOVE the Queenly Chicken-Gate….. they are, with maybe the other exceptionally spoilt pack of my Exeter friends’, the most treasured hens I’ve encountered. I MUST send you a card or three with the chickens I’ve been talking of!!! 🙂

        1. We must have an update, I have just been so busy recently haven’t had time to think let alone write! Plus the garden is at that time of year when it is constantly demanding attention, and now the potager is in urgent need of my services so that we can dine on fresh produce all summer, but the weather is really not being super helpful; it is either too hot to work outside or chilly and raining! Oh well, I guess it will be raincoats and wellies today! Have a lovely weekend xx

  3. Wonder is all around you this time of year with the birth of Spring and Evie’s babies. I am giving thanks to God for the beauty He sends all of us. Thankful that Evie came through the birth of her seven babies without a single problem. Is this her first? Thanks for sharing.

    1. Hello Alice, yes – it is her first littler. She’s already says she does not want to go through it again, though. We shall have to tread carefully! And I agree, Spring is wonderful!!!

          1. I’m still in total awe – she is on my mind every day and my heart leaps in love to this wonderful, dear pet. I’m happy that she gave birth in YOUR FAMILY, because I know she and the puppies will be cared for in the best ways and love by the galore will be shared with all of them. Lucky the future owners of one of the babies. 🙂

          2. The first couple of day were actually really stressful, it wasn’t all straight forward, but thankfully we have a wonderful vet, and all is well now. I will fill in all the details next week. In the meantime, Evie is gaining weight, the puppies are gaining weight, and they are all happy and well and huge time wasters! xxx

  4. How exciting on the new births and the return of annual rebirth of spring. Envious of Horse Chestnut trees. How I love to walk along The Seine while the trees are in bloom.

    1. I agree – it’s such an unsung tree yet for a magical moment in the year it is the Queen of Blooms. I love the sound of the thousands of insects that work on it for that short while too. It’s been a while since I have walked the banks of the Seine, I must admit…… 😦 Have a great weekend and hope you get to enjoy another walk there! XX

    1. IT DOES!! For all the services, and occasionally for a wedding. It’s a wonderful sound too, and from where we are we can see the bells turn in the belfry, which – if it is dark – is illuminated too. We’re very lucky!

  5. Good Morning Susan!
    Wow, so much to be grateful for today. So many little puppies, I am happy for all of you, esp. Evie

    Taking all day to birth your babies, that is a tough job. Little bundles of Joy.

    I Love the various shades of green in the spring and the delight of finding new blooms every day.

    The fence looks terrific! Every garden needs permanent structures to add to God’s nature. Good idea.

    Have a blessed day watching Evie with her precious babies.

    1. Hi Patty, thank you for all your comments. We are very lucky indeed right now – lots to be thankful for, as you say. I just hope all continues to go well with the puppies…… have a wonderful weekend XX

  6. What wonderful news. The puppies are so beautiful….wish I was closer. I spied figs, I hope there are many buckets and overflowing bowls full this year.
    Our spring exploded into summer this week as well. Who knows what next week will bring.
    Ali xxx

    1. Morning Ali! Glad all is well on your coast! Figs are still some way off, but we have leaves and buds at last, so now we wait! Love to Bob, and hope you have a great weekend! XX

  7. Wonderful news ‘re Evie’s pups, no wonder you’re all excited, I look forward to seeing lots of photos as they grow! Will you keep any of the pups?
    Your garden looks beautiful, I am very envious as I only have a shared garden in my Edinburgh apartment,but have recently decided to move when I return from Paris, hopefully to somewhere with a tiny patch of private garden. Here in Paris, we’ve had lots of rain and sun, so the little courtyard in front of my window has bloomed very dramatically this last few days.
    As ever, your photos are just gorgeous. xxx

    1. Hello Janet, the puppies are very exciting! Yes we will keep one and we have homes for most of the others, but not all. We never expected seven! Good luck with your property search when you get home, I hope you find exactly what you need, and that your tiny patch will bloom! Have a great weekend! XX

  8. Good Morning Susan,
    What a wonderful day for your family and Evie.
    A precious bundle of babies. Eviie had a long birth, tough job! Enjoy watching every day. I am sure your girls will rush home from school today.

    Also, enjoy the gorgeous greens of God’s nature creation in your lovely garden. I think the fence and new gate are a terrific idea and addition to the landscape.

    Enjoy your day, Patty

    1. Hello Patricia. Thank you for your kind words – spring is such a magical time, especially with puppies! And yes, the children are very attentive, and thankfully Evee is a very friendly mum and seems to lap up all the attention. Things will get easier, as ever, but then they get muckier too! Thank goodness they will be able to go outside most of the time….XX

    1. Aren’y they just beautiful! And as you say, a perfect addition to the home, though I am not so sure it in increasingly beautiful. I do sometimes think of it as increasingly muckier on occasion – and I am sure that is only going to get worse as the puppies get bigger – pretty sure you know all about that!

        1. It is fabulous and they are literally growing overnight. I can’t wait until they are a few weeks old and we can let them run around on the lawn, that will be so much fun! Have a lovely weekend xx

          1. Oh I can assure you there will be plenty more! It has been a very very busy first four days and not without a fair few hiccups, vet visits and bottle feeding. But oh, they are so worth it, and fingers crossed all is good. xx

  9. Your garden looks stunning. I’m no gardener but I know gardens that lovely do take some work. Congratulations to Evie (and you) on the new arrivals – so cute!

    1. Thank you Sheree – hard work perhaps, but truthfully I pray that the garden will do much of the work itself, most of the time! And somehow, it does seem to do a great deal itself. The puppies are way too cute, and it is very normal right now to find someone sitting by the whelping box, staring in silence. They are rapidly developing into a complete waste of time! In the nicest sense… XX

  10. OMG what a wonderful thing those puppies are, I can just picture them in a months time running around your more than gorgeous garden, what a sight that will be. We want lots of photos!

  11. There is only one thing in the world that can beat those puppies and that is 7 Labrador puppies! Sorry, only kidding, they are utterly fabulous, enjoy them, like kids they grow up far too quickly and they will be gone. Well I am assuming you are not keeping 7 puppies!!

    1. Ah! We have had both labs and Jack Russells, now. It’s hard to tell which s better as they are ALL so adorable! We will enjoy them, don’t worry, spring is good time to get then outside when they’re vaccinated and they will be gone too soon, as always! We’re keeping two, one for us and one for friends who will pass by at a later date. So – for a short while – we will be a 4-dog family! I think we will all be exhausted….. XX

  12. Oh my but your garden and surroundings are amazing…but those puppies! Who can resist pups?? They will be delightful and keep your lives busy….enjoy and please…keep sharing.

  13. Your photos are beautiful and I see the cherry blossom is out…hope the cherries appear in time…so glad the weather has turned for the better…we are due snow/frost next week but who cares..we will be on our way. Can I take one of those puppies home in my backpack?

    1. Yes, the cherry is in blossom (or was – not much left of it now) and we’ll be putting up anti-bird devices before we know it! Luckily Roddy has a couple of inventions that seemed to work well last year. I hope we get the crop that the blossom promised – we were overrun this year! Pop round and we can provide a puppy, for sure 🙂

  14. Puppies! Oh lordy, send one my way, Susan. Mrs C will kill me, but I haven;t had a Jack Russell for years. Love the garden, but I think we may be slightly behind here. Wishing you all a very happy spring with lots of house-training and home-finding!

    1. Oh Phil, I wish you could have one too. They are so delightful, they really are. House-training still to come, something Roddy is not looking forward too as he invariably deals with all the mess! Have a great weekend XX

  15. OH CONGRATUALTIONS!!!!!!!!!!!!
    I have an old gate that fits perfectly to the entrance of my house!Do you think THAT ITALIAN will install?NO!
    He says gates are NOT WELCOMING!!!!!!!I think he cannot figure out how to do it and this gate would not LOCK just swing………..even has OUR INITIAL ON IT!!!!!!!!!!

    1. Oh that gate was a real find, I tell you! And he had another too, a little larger, that we just couldn’t think of a home for. I could send Roddy round to fit it if you promise to send him home afterwards? Have a great weekend ! XX

  16. Isn’t the green of Spring just wonderful? So bright and verdant and such a lovely backdrop to the first emerging colours of blue, pink and yellow. I love that your garden is more informal and I absolutely agree about the Chicken fence!! It looks perfect and remember William Morris’s saying: ‘Have nothing in your house (or garden!) that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful!’ If you’ve got to have something, it may as well give pleasure to the eye and soul, even if it is for a functional purpose. And a garden should be a place of calm as well as fun, somewhere you can relax and not worry too much about a few old weeds. Nature should be allowed to do what she wants up to a point, rather than constant taming – too exhausting!! Oh those puppies! So gorgeous and well done Evie. She seems so small herself to become a mum! I bet she’s proud and I can just imagine the nerves and excitement in your home as she was giving birth! What a lovely time of year to have these little bundles of new life. They will be able to enjoy the spring and summer days rather than the cold and draughty winter ones and I guess you’ll be an even busier mum now!! Thank you for sharing them with us.

    1. Hi Marian – your thoughts echo mine – all of them! Whether it’s weeds, puppies, gates or fences, we seem to think the same. Gardens are for enjoyment, not just for hard work, surely? 🙂 And I agree wholeheartedly that nature is something to enjoy and not fight against. I have to admit that we have a couple of ‘weeds’ that I actually leave be deliberately now as they flower so well and provide a splash of it here and there where there would otherwise be nothing. I must be getting more relaxed in my old age as this year I have even done nothing more than just grumble at the molehills and simply pushed the soil around with my boot and let everything just ‘be’. However, I think the moles may shortly be in for a bit of a surprise. I am not sure how we are going to manage with eight digging machines in a few weeks time 😀 Evee is very proud and I shall pass on your regards XX

  17. This post is so glorious in every way that I don’t know where to begin! I loved your musings on your joy at seeing a church steeple from your garden (and I do hope you have found the sense of community there for which you’ve subconsciously been yearning). I also loved tagging along as you surveyed the fruits of your garden — and as you wandered farther afield, too, in search of lilacs. And the new puppies! Congratulations to you and your family … and to Evie too, of course. 🙂 I guess I’m not really adding anything new that your other readers haven’t commented on … except maybe my sincere thanks for sharing a little bit of your life. It’s always such a joy to read your posts!

    1. Hi Heide! So happy you enjoyed the post 🙂 It is great fun both doing everything and then sharing it with people who obviously enjoy the same things as I do. And yes, the church steeple does indeed provide a distinct uplift to my soul each time I see it, for all of the reasons we subconsciously think of – perhaps most of all for the sign of strength and endurance it provides in a world of pivotal changes and seasonal swings. XX

      1. You’re such a wonderful writer! Your last sentence describes beautifully why I always visit churches during my travels, even if I’m not devout: They are such a rich repository of human history and emotion, and stand as proof of a continuity that transcends our individual lives. You are privileged indeed to have such a lovely reminder literally right out your back yard! xx

        1. Thank you so much Heide, I too love visiting churches wherever we go, I am always instinctively drawn to them. We have just been in Brittany for a couple of days and it was fascinating to see the completely differing styles of steeples and church towers. Hope you have a lovely weekend xx

  18. Congratulations Evie!!!!! Wow seven puppies!
    Bet the kids can’t wait to get home from school to see them!
    How’s Bentley doing? taking it all in I bet.

    1. Bentley has seen it all before, Yvonne, and Evee is not very happy to see him so close at times, 🙂 The kids are all over them as much as Roddy and I allow them, and Millie has been a terrific nurse. She’s slept the last two nights on the floor alongside just incase there was a problem. That’s dedication for you! Ha ha.

      Rory’s reaction was very different, and his language – tsk tsk He was not amused at all. I fear he knows how much he is going to get chased and tugged LOL

  19. Do you realize that this entire countryside is a gift from God and .I hope that this is what heaven looks like .just so utterly beautiful and the there is Evies pups. What joy you must feel.

    1. Hello Betty, we do indeed feel enormous joy, but not half as much as Evee, I think. She was very large and very bow-legged and must feel a great deal of relief! Have a wonderful weekend and thank you for commenting XX

  20. A post to lower one’s own blood pressure and forget local problems – wonderful! Oh, Evie, what a marathon effort – at least you were kind to your two-leggeds and managed it over a long, long day! Happy families!! Satisfied Mom and happy Godmother 🙂 ! Love your garden and shall walk it again . . . have just read a friend’s mail from Sweden where snow flurries stopped the first plants from going into the soil – what a difference . . . . . . and did not realize you had a beautiful church nearby nor close neighbours . . . best for all . . .

    1. Hello Eha – hope all is well at your end of the world! Happy to have lowered your blood pressure, for sure, and hope you enjoyed the photos… for the church, it’s a wonderful sight over the garden wall. I’m surprised it has never been in a photo before – you have me curious now to know if it has been picture before. The thought will tug at my brain all ay long now, ha ha. All of our best back to you, too – have a great weekend XX

  21. What a wonderful and wonder-filled week, Susan! Although I loved the entire post, the wisteria is my favorite. I just discovered wisteria when visiting our daughter in southern California last year and it’s wonderful. Of course, I love lilacs, too, both fragrances are heady indeed.

    It’s possible that my s-i-l might be moving to Aquitaine, which would be much closer to you. 🙂 We’ll see what happens.


    1. Hi Janet – what exciting news! It would be great to meet you if you get there, how exciting….make sure you visit in wisteria season if this happens, I would be very happy to share it with you 🙂 And yes, what a week, phew! Have a great weekend… XXX

  22. I subscribe to your posts but don’t recall Evie being with pups. They are so adorable. Your garden is very inspirational. Beautiful, some parts contained but other parts natural and wild. Thank you for sharing the photos.

  23. Would you kindly identify the tree with the large pink blossoms? You took several pictures of the same tree. Thank you and congratulations on the puppies!

    1. Hello Melanie! That is our Queen of Blooms, our horse-chestnut, Aesculus hippocastanum (conker tree in some parts of the world). It does not provide many conkers, and it indeed may be a little poorly, but she still flowers for all she is worth for a week each year. The blossom tends to fall far too quickly for me…. 😦

      1. You got me thinking a little more about our tree, Melanie, and so I did a little research only to find out that it is actually Aesculus x carnea, a hybrid between A. pavia (red buckeye) and A. hippocastanum (horse-chestnut). It apparently first appeared in Germany at the start of the 19th century. It is generally regarded as a sterile tree, with few to zero fruits (conkers) though there may be variation – as there is in our’s since we do get some fully sized conkers (though not a lot). Additionally, the bees who pollinate chestnuts don’t stop their work on the carnea as the blooms are pink and this is a colour the bees recognise apparently to mean a bloom is un-pollinated. So they just carry on! Maybe that’s why there are ALWAYS bees hard at work on it!

  24. Your garden is glorious once again! I am in love with the wisteria. Everything keeps growing, including the children. And Evie had puppies!! How lucky you all are! Enjoy the bounty! Xoxo

  25. Brilliant post – what a life you’ve created for your children, I’m so happy Spring is here, love every photo. Can’t believe Evie’s a mom!! How thrilling. I’ll never forget delivery all of our cocker pups while mom was at work, I was almost ten, and she was on the other end of our “avocado” colored 70’s telephone.
    Enjoy every moment in your idyllic home and village. And I adore the fence! It’s beautiful! And the gate!!!
    Happy times

    1. I can imagine the cocker spaniel pups were fabulous. Lots of hard work but so delightful. I still remember your trip here when Evie was a puppy and came everywhere with us, snuggled up inside a jacket in a restaurant and happily being peddled along in a bike basket, happy memories indeed and now she has seven of her own babies, what a busy spring we are going to have! Hope you have a fab weekend, big hugs xxxx

  26. How absolutely lovely to have so many signs of spring and new life all around. I love the gate and the chicken garden is on my wish list, although I do enjoy my two on a daily basis. Please send some good weather over here, things are looking very green but much more enjoyable with some sunshine.

  27. Spring looks wonderful in your garden and surrounding area. Look at those sweet puppies!

    1. It is fabulous to have so much greenery surrounding us after what seemed like a long winter, although really it wasn’t! The puppies are adorable and such time wasters! xx

  28. I just looove that gate. That’s why I love Europe you can find those old treasures, here we usually see things that are made to look old with lots of rust and for this pleasure the price is exhorbitant! It really does look beautiful, a great addition to your garden that was already perfect!

    1. I searched high and low for a suitable gate. The problem was finding a single one rather than pairs and at a price that was acceptable! This was a lucky find and only, quite incredibly, 20 minutes away. We are so happy with it, it’s amazing when a small change suddenly seems so right, everything falls into place xx

    1. Thanks so much, I have battled with weeds for so long and I know some of our flowering things are classified as weeds to many, but they add colour and are so pretty and in a large garden there is plenty of room for them, so I am embracing the slightly wilder cottage garden look and it seems to be working rather well! xx

  29. I have finally sat down on a cold foggy autumn morning in Australia with a tea to catch up on your posts and how well rewarded. Such beautiful photos and words and the darling puppies to finish ❤️
    Ps love the chicken fence!

    1. Thanks so much Ann-Maree, I fear the weather is not a whole lot better here today, it certainly feels more like autumn than spring with a fine mist falling. But it is green and still gorgeous! The chicken fence was one of those things that just really worked, it was a snap decision and we love it, amazing how something like that can make so much difference! The puppies are fabulous, complete time wasters, but all doing so well, lots of hard work but worth every second! xx

  30. Your garden is way ahead of ours in Normandy, although it is very green here, but the wind is still so cold and aside from a brief hot spell we are still waiting for spring to arrive.

    1. We have been plummeted back down to cooler temperatures here as well this week, way below average but everything is growing at an alarming rate. No doubt spring will be with us all properly soon and just maybe it means we will have a fantastic summer! xx

  31. Congratulations to Evee on her adorable babies. Just as you are pleased that you have had a burst of warmth and all the loveliness of Spring we have had cooler weather and a bit of rain and I for one am very pleased with this. Miss your garden and sad we won’t be feasting on your cherries this year but we do hope the rest of your harvest through the coming months is bountiful. We are hoping to use the cooler weather to continue to revamp our garden and plant winter and spring vegetables as it’s useless trying to do any summer ones, too hot. The puppies will be so loved and I bet both Bentley and Rory are for once in agreement with each other over these interlopers!

    1. I can imagine how happy you are with some rain and cooler weather! Our cherries are going to be late this year, as with most things! But there are plenty of green ones so hopefully in am month or so we should be feasting on them. By contrast we are planting the vegetable garden a little earlier this year. I hope you garden revamp is going well, we have just spent four non stop days (as it has been a long holiday weekend) working on the garden and getting it back to looking somewhat reasonable after a long winter! Bentley gets growled at if he goes too near to the puppies and Rory is scared stiff of them, he keeps his distance at all times!!! They are a vast amount of hard work but worth every minute of it and utterly adorable. xx

    1. Oh yes it is, I agree. We purposefully did not want to breed from her going into autumn and winter. The idea is that once their eyes are open and they are fully mobile it should be warm enough that they can run outside on the lawn a little. It is going to be so much fun! xx

  32. What wonderful photos, Susan – it looks as though spring is well under way down your neck of the woods. Those puppies look beyond fabulous! I hope you have some fun times with them before they all relocate.

    Amy and I hope we will be able to stop and say hello this year. We’re planning a trip down to the mountains end of September, so will definitely try and see you!

    1. Thanks so much Simon, they are the most wonderful little things. A vast amount of hard work already, but worth every second of it. It will be fabulous if you do make it down this way this year, keep us updated please. xx

  33. Beautiful sentiments and photos, as always. Congrats on the new puppies!

    I have a lily-of-the valley story to share. We love those delicate flowers also, the fragrance is so wonderful. When our older daughter was married a few years ago what bouquets to carry was a matter of much discussion. I made her bride’s bouquet out of vintage and antique brooches – all aurora borealis and pearl. I had been collecting them for her since she was born. Her bouquet ended up being quite a fantastical affair – but was suited to her gown, the beautiful old sanctuary and herself. We decided the attendants would carry simple clutches of lily-of-the-valley tied with a delicate periwinkle chord for accent. Because the wedding was in mid-October the preferred flower was a special order – and, I thought, crazy expensive. Everyone agreed we would find an alternative. We settled on Star of Bethlehem, also a special order but more easily obtained and much friendlier to the pocket. On the morning of the wedding the attendants bouquets were delivered. The stems were a lovely shade of deep emerald green but the star shaped flowers were scant, if showing at all. The attendants carried them anyway – it looked like they were holding precious bunches of asparagus spears. A few days later all of the stems burst forth – by then our daughter and her new husband were well into their honeymoon. We sent photos……….just because. We all have fairly well honed senses of irony, and humor, so that small faux pas just added another layer to the wedding story.

    1. What a wonderful story Steven, I can just imagine on the morning of the wedding that everyone was a little stressed and a little sad to see no flowers, but I am sure the bridesmaids looks absolutely gorgeous and besides, now you have such a wonderful story to tell. Most of all though, I love that you collected the brooches since your daughter was born, that must have been a fantastic bouquet, wow, I have never heard of anything like this.

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