Over the last few months I have been gardening blind, for the most part anyway. My new clients’ gardens were previously unknown to me and as such a mystery. Strangers who I needed to become acquainted with and hopefully will eventually call my friends. In an attempt not to appear a complete dimwit (quiet please in the cheap seats!) I have desperately been studying twigs and bark and interrogating owners for clues as to what various trees and shrubs might be. Many of the herbaceous perennials have also been dormant, nestling underground until warmer conditions tempt them out, and I have been stumbling across them in borders along the way, trying to distinguish the wheat from the chaff. Now as spring progresses every visit divulges a little more of each garden’s secrets and in turn inspires even more expectations. The turn of the season is slowly revealing what lies beneath and within. I had correctly identified this as a magnolia tree (such brilliance) but today, when I saw a tantalising glimpse of dark dark flower beneath the split casing, the anticipation of this tree in full bloom is almost unbearable.