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.
What a hugely satisfying and full year you have had Cathy. I have so enjoyed rambling along with you and you have influenced me to such an extent that I’m already planning a cutting garden at the new cottage. Looking forward to many more rambles and more fun on Mondays.
Influenced you – crickey! The cutting beds have been a real learning curve and each of us who have introduced them will have different priorities and conditions and it has been really useful to learn from each other. Thanks for all your kind words – makes blogging all the more worthwhile 🙂
Glad to hear you found us in 2015 and had a lovely visit. Hope to see you in again in 2016!
It shouldn’t have taken us so long to make our first visit, and I am sure we will be back again!
You have had a busy year of visits Cathy, it was a pleasure to meet you and the golfer.
Thanks Brian, and likewise. It was a relief that no-one said “no” when I asked if we coud visit!
Rambling with you has become a habit. Looking forward to much more. Happy New Year!
Hmm, I have some odd habits too, rickii… 😉 Happy New Year to you as well
What a great year you have had; rambling in your garden and all over the country as well. It was such fun to meet you in June. I am looking forward to seeing what you have planned for 2016.
It was indeed a most rewarding year, Chloris – and meeting other bloggers was definitely the highlight. Had been thinking about a spring visit to the Scilly Isles this year but are going to postpone due to Younger Daughter’s wedding and the Growing Flowers for a Wedding Bouquet project… 😉
A fabulous year Cathy. You didn’t mention sitting on the bench… 🙂
Oh, did I not..? I wonder why… 😉 Thanks for your kind comments Jessica ps I did a post once on all the benches in the garden that I didn’t sit on…
How nice to meet other bloggers in person! Loved reading your blog.
Oh thanks Jane – glad you enjoy reading it. And yes, meeting other bloggers was a rael highlight of the year
You bet I will be rambling around your garden with you. I just found your blog a few months ago. I look forward to all your projects and plans. Here is to a successful year in the garden.
Thanks Lisa – I just tell it how it is and essentially writing it down is for my own satisfaction, so it is good to hear that you enjoy reading about my projects and plans.
The very best of luck with not buying plants, Cathy! Please keep us posted on how that goes. I am sure you will find yourself enjoying taking cuttings and dividing up old favourites, and being glad that the inevitable stack of plastic flowerpots in every gardener’s darkest corner won’t be getting any bigger this year.
I must say I admire your bricklaying skills. I am thinking of trying out a bit of bricklaying this year. I’d be interested to know, did you go on a course, or were you able to just work it out for yourself?
Looking forward to following your rambles throughout 2016.
Thanks Joanna – the Golfer is convinced I will fail, but I have no doubts at all that I will succeed. It’s just a matter of self-discipline! Essentially I learned bricklaying on the job and may not lay bricks like a professional but everything is still standing! A spirit level and a pointing trowel will be your most used tools once you start – and do start with a small project to get the basic idea. Reclaimed bricks always look effective – but in some situations breeze blocks that you then render and paint might be effective.
I will most certainly be along to ramble about your garden through your wonderful blog. I don’t think I will take any bets on your being able to refrain from an occasional “necessary” purchase.
Peace to you and yours in the New Year.
You can take as many bets as you want Johnm , because I shan’t be falling by the wayside on my rambles round the garden in 2016… 🙂
What a busy year you have had Cathy – I am amazed you found any time or energy for gardening!! Good luck with your NGS plans – you will find it focuses your mind on all those little jobs, even if you are not planning to alter your gardening routine because of it. Good luck also with your pledge to stop buying plants – I think that is an excellent aim. Whilst I am not ready to join in with you as my garden is still too immature I am planning a year of consolidation – looking after what I have and letting everything bed down with just a few additions where I still have gaps.
Thanks Julie – and yes, a year of consolidation is what I am hoping for too, which partially explains the embargo, reminding me of the distinction between ‘want and ‘need’
I feel quite breathless and exhausted reading about all that – never mind doing it! How on earth do you find time (and still produce a lovely ‘Vase on Monday’ each week)? It would be interesting, perhaps, if you could do a follow-up post at the end of this year to update us on how successful the ‘not buying plants’ thing has been?
I am certainly not known for my sitting down and doing nothing, Cathy – but remain perfectly chilled with meditation and tai chi and a balance outlook on life 😉 Oh and yes, I will keep yu posted on the embargo!
I am really impressed by how many bloggers you managed to meet in a year, Cathy. I met my first this morning! More details to follow on my blog!
How excitinfg Annette! I look forward to reading what you were up to. It makes it much easier living in the Midlands – and I was pro-active and asked if we could visit. As yet, no bloggers have visited my garden…
You are on my list Cathy. I must make a plan. We did a lot of relatives and friends last year so maybe it could be gardens next year?
You would be most welcome Annette! Wherever we are heading I look for possible gardens on the way or in the vicinity…
You’ve certainly packed much into the space of twelve months Cathy! It was lovely to meet you both and hope that out paths cross again in the future. I wonder where you and the Golfer are off to this year in the camper van. One or two plans in the pipeline here for our ancient charger 🙂
Looking back it does look that way, doesn’t it? Only half-baked plans so far for this year… but I am sure our paths will cross
a busy, busy year, good luck with the NGS I’m sure lots of people will enjoy your garden, thanks for the link and good to have seen you both, still think you were mad in your choice of time but …..
onwards and upwards to 2016, Frances
You have had a busy year! Thank you for the mention! It was a pleasure to meet you and The Golfer – it most definitely felt like meeting up with old friends. Looking back now, it seems hard to imagine we sat outdoors to enjoy cake and a cuppa! So many gardens too! I hope you have another successful year of visits. Your camper van is serving you well – I want one too!
Yes, it seems AGES ago… that was a great round up gardens and bloggers! Definitely worth having the van 🙂
Oh, and a “Guid New Year!”
Och aye the noo!
Inspire me, inspire me, keep inspiring me… Maybe I will do something new and exciting, too.
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