Rambling Through 2016

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…

img_7226-001…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!

sizedoesmatterProjects 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!

plum-treeimg_7871I 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:

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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, AnnaAnnette, 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!

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23 Responses to Rambling Through 2016

  1. rickii says:

    Yes, size really does get people’s attention. A favorite moment at work was when a tiny girl (probably under 5 yrs) gazed up at Lilium ‘Pretty Woman’ and exclaimed, in a loud voice, “Oh my God…it’s enormous!” Having an open garden seems pretty enormous to me, as does providing flowers for a wedding. I’m well and truly impressed.

  2. Obviously the rest of the empty bed made it a place for vigorous growing. Beautiful. I will be with you as you prepare for your big open garden day. Such excitement!

  3. smallsunnygarden says:

    Wishing you plenty of garden abundance for 2017, Cathy – as well as a wonderful year in every other way! I am still trying to learn about raising more from seed and cuttings, so look forward to any advice from your ongoing projects.

    • Cathy says:

      You can’t beat experience for extending your knowledge and after about 3 years of ‘serious’ seed sowing I feel I have learned a lot but with cuttings I am very much a novice and have yet to learn, for example, how long before cuttings will get to flowering size. Growing perennials from seed is still quite new to me as well but our blogging community is very generous with information and we just need to ask the questions

  4. Pauline says:

    Lovely post Cathy and wishing you a wonderful year in your garden, your cutting garden is looking so pretty with all the different colours.

  5. Christina says:

    A successful year, and a busy one. You manage to fit in so much and all without missing ‘a vase’! Good luck with the projects for 2017, I’m sure the Open Garden will be a fantastic success.

    • Cathy says:

      Thank you Christina – and I count my blessings that I am able to do what I do and achieve what I achieve as it may, of course, not always be the case

  6. johnvic8 says:

    You have clearly had a wonderful year, and I am confident that you, with the able assistance of The Golfer, will reach greater heights in 2017. Please stay off tall ladders. Thanks for being by garden blogging friend all the way across the wide pond.

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks John – it has been a pleasure to share pleasantries and blogs. I have done my stint up the tall ladder pruning the wisteria but we do plan to paint the exterior of the house when the weather permits so I am afraid it will be brought into use again… 😉

  7. A lovely post, and what luck that the Clematis put on a show for you at just the right time! The flowers you produced for your daughter’s wedding were beautiful. I am so pleased to have found your blog this year and started joining in with In a Vase on Monday. Good luck for a successful gardening year in 2017, I look forward to seeing what you do.

    • Cathy says:

      Thank you for your kind words Eleanor – it’s always good to hear from a fairly local blogger too and it is a pleasure to be beginning to make your acquaintance

  8. A busy year behind and a busy year ahead! Gardeners do like to keep a hand in, don’t we?! Wish I could be visit on your big day. Looking forward to more news and wishing you great success.

  9. All the best for 2017, Cathy. It looks like another busy and exciting year ahead! Thanks for the link, it was great to meet you both last year.

  10. It’s always of interest to see what stands out in our memory when we look back at the garden year. You certainly had a couple of major events. We had a number of tours of our garden in 2016 but nothing like being in the Yellow Book. For one thing, we don’t need to provide food or seating. I will be looking forward to hearing how it all goes. And what you can teach us about doing this kind of event.

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Linda – we don’t actually ‘need’ to provide food or seating for the NGS gardens, but both are attractive to visitors of course!

  11. Well Cathy I am late in reading this and have to say it was a delight to meet you at boughton grange. Your ferns will hopefully have survived the winter and I hope to show you them in their new home.please be sure to let me know when your garden is open so I can try to come see it

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