The received wisdom when you move into a new home with an established garden is to wait 12 months before doing anything drastic to it, mow the lawn, remove obvious weeds (leaving unidentified seedlings) and see what comes up/sprouts into life.
I wasn't terribly hopeful of anything wonderful appearing in my new garden, it's not been particularly well maintained and consists mainly of big trees and a lawn like a field (Spike loves all the weeds though and having a weedy lawn is always on our list of desirables for him!) But I have had some surprises already!
Mint is springing up through the gravel where I put my patio furniture set. Have to keep an eye on that, mint is so vigorous, it really needs restricting in a pot to stop it spreading out of control. That might become one of the on-going battles of this garden.
Some surprises are nicer than others ... this very shady rockery was growing nothing more than moss, cleavers, and a silver leaved rockery plant I can't remember the name of but everyone has it (someone help me out with the name!) I just noticed yesterday that it's got all these little shoots all over the place. I am hopeful that it's Lily of the Valley. The rockery is right next to some steps going down into the garden and would smell wonderful if it is.
This surprise - the retaining wall on the lowest of the existing terraces collapsing when DH sat on it (no injuries except to his dignity), well we could've done without that one! As you can possibly see from the photograph, it was obvious that this will need rebuilding in the long term as it's leaning over quite a bit, we had hoped to leave this til after the work in the house was finished (to give us time to save up a bit!)
This made me jump when I came across it under one of the overgrown conifer trees ... it's completely hidden until you get under the canopy. I'm not quite sure what it is, it's made of painted terracotta I think. I have decided it's a Japanese lion (with broken legs poor thing). I've found one of the legs, if I come across the other I may attempt a repair and bring him out into the sun.
The best surprise though was spotting a fish for the first time in the river from the jetty! The Inspector from the Environment Agency who came round last week confirmed what the previous owner had told us, that there are brown trout and crayfish in the river. This fish was only little, a couple of inches or so and had vertical bands on its side, we only got fleeting glimpses of it as it went about its business in and amongst the stones and weed on the bottom.
I didn't get a photo of it but here's one from the jetty where we spotted it from anyway; I could've watched it for hours!