For the last few weeks a mysterious mist has descended over the North East. It does lift from time to time but then returns. This is preventing me from believing that spring is here, but my gardening friend Karen assured me that there were flowers in her cutting garden ready to be picked.

She spent the morning with her pupils, planting zinnias and sweet Williams amongst other things and when I arrived she had buckets of garden flowers ready to go. I cannot express how much I love this course - I had buckets of tulips, hellebores, wallflowers, blossom, nepita, cardoons, euphorbia and chives. I find it difficult sometimes, to pick garden flowers, after all the time spent waiting for them to surface. As a consequence, I don’t pile flowers into these arrangements but I like the space between them. As one of the participants reminded me today, we should take advice from Constance Spry and leave room for the butterflies.