Looking back, the highlight of 2015 was undoubtedly the opportunity to meet up with other garden bloggers – or, to be more accurate, creating the opportunity to do so. We travelled to the Outer Hebrides in April and met Christine of Croft Garden and Frances of Island Threads, to Nottingham in May for Sue (From Sewing Room to Potting Shed)’s open garden, to Suffolk and Chloris of The Blooming Garden and Julie of Peonies and Posies in June, had an assignation with Anna of Green Tapestry at Holker Hall in July (and in Liverpool in December), visited Noelle of Stasher in Kenilworth in August and had a bumper visit to South Staffordshire and Worcestershire in September to meet Ali from The Long Garden Path, Helen the Patient Gardener and Brian of Our Garden@19. Oh and briefly met Michelle of Veg Plotting and Alison of Blackberry Garden at a snowdrop event at Hodsock Priory in Lincolnshire in February… Whew! What a joy it was to meet like-minded people who up to that point we have only known through our blogs; conversation flowed freely on every occasion, as if we were old friends, which we are of course!
Alongside bloggers’ gardens we have had the pleasure of seeking out many other gardens on our travels, with visits to Anglesey Abbey, Beth Chatto, Places for Plants and RHS Hyde Hall on our Suffolk trip, Whitlenge Gardens, The Picton Garden, Webbs of Wychbold and Red House Farm Gardens around Worcestershire, Winterbourne Gardens in Birmingham, RHS Wisley on one of our visits to Elder Daughter, and Renishaw Hall in Derbyshire. The weeping wall poppies ‘on tour’ in Liverpool too – and many others I have missed out no doubt. The campervan has given us additional flexibility which we will increasingly take advantage of for overnight trips and we are already formulating ideas for visits for this coming year. In the meantime, click on the links to read the original posts about these places, or enjoy some of them in the slideshow below:
You know by now how much we enjoy our projects, and I have managed to create several bricklaying tasks in the garden during the last year to keep my hand in so, as well as a necessary revamp of the rose arbour which houses Rambling Rector, structural tasks included elevating the special snowdrop border, minor adjustments to the edging of one of the bold borders, a water feature involving a non functioning vintage pump and improving access up to the paved area by raising adjacent beds.
In between the projects routine tasks continued, with a successful year of seed sowing and cutting beds proving worthwhile – and no end of material and inspiration for vases every Monday! I found it especially useful to keep a record of dates of sowing, time taken to germination, dates pricked out and planted out, and flowering times; this is a resource I can build on in future years. Elsewhere I focussed on consolidating the other borders, making an effort to thin out congested clumps and fork in compost, removing large quantities of redundant labels at the same time. Tweaking and tidying took on a different significance when I tentatively enquired about opening for the National Garden Scheme; a preliminary inspection paved the way for another inspection in June of this year and a potential (but not yet certain) opening in 2017.
There is still plenty of room for improvement – for my own satisfaction, not to meet NGS standards – and the tweaking and tidying will continue into 2016. It is too easy to ignore the not quite-finished things, the pots or canes left part way down the garden to be picked up during some future ramble, underperforming or post-performing plants, seedlings and young plants waiting for a more permanent home – you get the picture! An interesting condition is attached to my gardening this year – a self-imposed embargo on buying plants. That does not include seeds, and theoretically does not include bulbs although I may deliberately avoid my large Peter Nyssen order this summer just to show that I am strong-willed enough to do so! Knowing how generous fellow bloggers are, gifts of a vegetative nature will still be welcome as long as I have a specific vacant spot for them… 🙂
Thanks for reading my blog over the past year and for your supportive, educational and humourous comments; I would be delighted if you continue to ramble round the garden with me throughout 2016.