It is always interesting from a personal perspective to look back and see what was achieved in the garden in the previous year and revisit the other gardening related activities; I myself enjoy reading similar reviews on other blogs so perhaps some of you may find this review of some interest too!
There were in fact two major things that impacted on much of the year, firstly Younger Daughter’s wedding at the end of April and the growing of blooms in preparation for her wedding flowers…
…and secondly our informal open garden for my local charity in June followed a week or two later by acceptance for inclusion in the National Garden Scheme‘s Yellow Book in 2017. The informal opening gave us the experience of preparing for and sharing the garden with more visitors than we have had at any one time before, whilst NGS acceptance immediately triggered all sorts of detailed planning and preparation albeit many months in advance – taking cuttings and potting up, ensuring an adequate supply of tables & chairs and mugs & plates, discussing costings with fellow bloggers who had opened their gardens, provisionally arranging help on the day, listing minor improvements to be carried out over the winter and a whole range of other tasks listed in my ‘gardening opening notebook’.
This year’s low key opening was exhilarating and rewarding, and it was good to see people sitting and enjoying the ambience of the garden as well as being inspired by a plant or an idea they planned to adopt themselves. The most talked about plants were Clematis ‘Franziska Maria’ and Inula magnifica, seemingly proving that size does indeed matter, although this clematis bloom turned out to be a one-off and the only double the plant produced!
Projects in the garden were few this last year, just the removal of the magnolia and the last of the wild plum tree in January and the very sudden decision to ‘do something’ with the rockery in August. The magnolia was successfully replaced with crab apple ‘Evereste’, and the solution to the rockery looks so much better and the wider path proved to be a boon for placing the ladder to prune the wisteria!
I was able to add to the tally of garden bloggers I have met by visiting Kate of Barn House Garden in July, meeting Dorris of Dig With Dorris at Broughton Grange in September and Joanna of Edinburgh Garden Diary in October – and still have hopes of arranging an informal meeting up of garden bloggers sometime this year. It is always such a pleasure to meet blogging friends after months or years of online friendship – and as these meetings invariably include gardens that just adds to the pleasure. Have a look at some of the gardens we have visited during the last year:
Back home I have been especially pleased with my seed sowing regime which has been pretty successful, leading to full greenhouses for much of the year and attractive and fairly productive cutting beds, particularly once the dahlias got going. I still don’t use seed sown plants enough in the other borders though and intend to plan that into this year’s practice. Taking cuttings, however, has been a new venture for me in 2016, something I though would be a bit of a faff but turned out to be incredibly easy. Extra sowing and cutting has taken place to provide a stock of plants to sell when the garden opens, and I am very grateful to Chloris, Brian, Anna , Annette, Dorris, Kate, Joanna, Karen and Sandra (don’t think I have missed anyone!) for their contributions to assist with this and to add to variety in my own garden.
January sees an end to my year-long plant buying embargo which proved not to be a difficult exercise at all and hopefully has encouraged me to be more discerning in the future – that said, I do have a (short!) list of snowdrops to hand for when Avon Bulbs‘ spring ordering website goes live! Even without the addition of spontaneous purchases, there were many plants that thrilled me in 2016 or that have been surprisingly successful, but one of the views that gave me particular pleasure was this shot of the cutting beds in September, just sheer abundance and all from a bed that lies empty over the winter. Let’s hope there will be even more abundance in 2017!