Hello 2021- What Have You Got in Store for the Garden?

Rather than wish anyone reading this a ‘happy new year’, which may sound  trite after the unforeseen eventualities of the previous year and the ongoing uncertainties of 2021, I shall wish you instead the very best year possible and thank you for continuing to read and comment on my blog. As I said yesterday, the garden has been oblivious to whatever was happening out there in the big wide world in 2020 and, likewise, our garden blogging community has generally continued in its usual vein too, any restrictions beyond the garden gate mostly just hinted at,  concealing any difficult personal circumstances that many have experienced. My thoughts and best wishes go out to all of you, in the hope that you will find joy and peace both in and out of the garden in this coming year.

Contrary to the maelstrom outside, the garden has had a great year, starting with our first February opening for the NGS (National Garden Scheme). I have no doubts about the joys to be found in the garden in winter, having progressively planned and planted to provide winter colour and fragrance in the last few years, and our February opening was designed to share these joys with our visitors and encourage them to think of adding seasonal interest in their own. February proved to be the wettest month of the year with Storm Dennis arriving the weekend we opened and flooding local roads – but we still had visitors, who still enjoyed their cold and damp visit, thus fulfilling the brief.  The most rewarding part, however, came a few days later when I happened to bump into one of a pair of ladies who have visited each year the garden has been open, who told me not just much they enjoyed it, but how she had been trying to explain to another friend that this February visit was every bit as enjoyable as a June one…

Little did we know in mid-February that the year would go into freefall barely a month later and that our June openings and planned group visits would be cancelled. This proved, however, to be a bonus for the garden, essentially giving me a year to enjoy the garden without dates to work towards, an opportunity to observe and monitor and tweak, creating and carrying out projects almost on a whim. Combined with glorious spring and summer sunshine, the garden has done very well out of 2020, thank you very much!

There have been a number of notable and very satisfactory successes, like the outdoor sweet peas – always damp squibs until this year, unlike my early flowering greenhouse variety. This year they were sown at the end of January instead of in the autumn, and planted out into one of the new cutting beds created from reducing the size of the fruit cage, with a ‘proper’ framework of bean poles to clamber on. The result was glorious:

The cutting beds were possibly even better than ever before too, and definitely benefitted from adding horizontal netting for support:

Some things did really well with no help from me, like Magnolia ‘Susan’:

And roses and clematis throughout the garden:

The weeks and months without rain encouraged us to make the effort and install a water supply to the bottom of the garden and intervening points in between – I say ‘us’, but I only sourced the materials and it was the Golfer who did the donkey work:

Reassessing the garden and its content not only saw the removal of a number of plants that no longer sufficiently served their purpose, but also a rehashing of the layout of some of the borders, particularly the main herbaceous beds which were realigned to allow a path to pass through them. In the course of this, more than half the contents were removed and not all replaced, so it will take till next season to see how well the new layout and planting works:

There were several other ‘mini-projects’ throughout the year, mostly tweaking things to make them more user or visual-friendly, inspired by closer and more regular observation. However, around the same time as my building work on the revamped beds, the Golfer was progressively removing the overgrown oak tree that cast avoidable shade on parts of the garden, to the fascination and admiration of neighbours on all sides – a great achievement!

The increased neighbourliness fostered by the Covid pandemic inadvertently boosted my garden record-keeping by introducing me to a villager who was a professional photographer in possession of  a drone, fulfilling my desire to have new aerial photographs of the garden to update those we had taken in 2002. I plan to have a set of 4 seasonal views, and now only await photographs from March. The latest view, taken in December, is below and the June and September views can be seen by clicking The Garden tab above.

Finally, an innovation introduced this year was the addition of a video to the end of month posts, as you may have seen yesterday. After months of wrestling with technology I have reached what may be an acceptable compromise and, for the first time ever, yesterday’s video was uploaded with no hitches whatsoever, albeit without any fancy subtitles, but serving the basic purpose of a video tour of the garden. Not everyone may choose to view the tour, but there have been positive comments from those that do, especially during full lockdown when the monthly tours were eagerly awaited by some, unable to visit gardens in the flesh for much of the spring and summer.

None of us know yet what 2021 has in store, but all being well I shall still be enjoying rambling in the garden and writing about it on this blog. Thank you all for your continued friendship, support, and generous sharing of knowledge, plants and seeds.

This entry was posted in End of Month View, garden structure, Gardening, Gardens, projects. Bookmark the permalink.

33 Responses to Hello 2021- What Have You Got in Store for the Garden?

  1. Heyjude says:

    And thank you for sharing your lovely garden with us. It is a joy to visit and learn so much about different plants.

    • Cathy says:

      Aw, thank you Jude. I too have learned such a lot since blogging and it is always good to pass on what knowledge we can

  2. Pádraig says:

    That’s a fabulous aerial shot! Must try to do dome thing similar.

    • Cathy says:

      It is fascinating to see them, Padraig – and if you have trees in your garden you will realise if you have a summer view just how far their canopies extend!!

  3. Your cutting beds look great, and I really like the brick work in your garden. So glad to move into 2021. All the best to you in the months ahead!

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks. I love a bit of brickwork, Beth, and am always on the lookout for another idea to build something else… no new inspiration yet though…!

  4. Thanks for a lovely post. You nailed it when you said, the garden has been oblivious to what was going on in the outside world. Ain’t that the truth. That’s why it has truly been my happiest place. 💚

    • Cathy says:

      Thank you for the kind comment – and I am glad to know that you have found solace in your garden too. And is it just a balcony?

      • Thanks so much for your message. For now it is just a balcony but I never imagined you could do so much with such a small space or that such a small space could become so very important. Wishing you the very best for 2021. ☺️

        • Cathy says:

          And for many gardeners, however big or small a plot they have, stretching the boundaries to find room for more plants is an ongoing challenge! 😉

  5. croftgarden says:

    Gardens are a haven and a refuge for so many of us.Your industry is amazing, every time I go on one of your garden tours something has changed! Lovely sweet peas.

  6. Chloris says:

    A great overview of the garden. Yes, our gardens have all benefitted from all the extra atention this year. And you are endlessly inventive in all your new projects. Looking forward to see what you will come up with next year. Couldn’t the Golfer make you a tree house whilst he is hanging around in that oak?

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Chloris – I did briefly consider a tree house once, but chose to build the bothy with its viewing chimney instead, Actually, I nearly forgot, DO have a treehouse, but it’s a folly and I would have to be a lot shorter than I am to get into it!

  7. Linda Casper says:

    Thanks for sharing photos and news about your lovely garden. The cutting garden and the fence with climbers and art work has inspired me. Please send the Golfer round to mine with his ladders!
    May you have a productive and successful 2021.

    • Cathy says:

      Lightweight scaffolding is worth its (light!) weight in gold Linda – so useful in the garden, and better to work from than a ladder for many things The art works are painted in acrylic on exterior MDF and then varnished, but there are some photographs on exterior canvases too. Best wishes for you and your garden too

  8. Annette says:

    And thank you, Cathy, for sharing your thoughts and garden with us throughout the year, not to forget the vases on a Monday which always make me happy. It’s funny in a way how one can feel close to people one has never met. Like Liz I’m admiring your endless creativity in the garden and yes, a tree house would be a great new addition 😀 . Wishing you both happiness in 2021!

    • Cathy says:

      You are welcome, Annette, and I certainly think of my blogging friends as real friends – which is why it is a great joy when I am able to meet them

  9. johnvic8 says:

    A most welcome overview of your garden year. I’m confident your garden will flourish in 2021, and perhaps, just perhaps, the vaccine will work and you will be thrilled with your visitors again. But one request: please keep The Golfer off tall ladders. He is obviously too skilled in other…more landly…areas to risk atop that creaky structure. Have a wonderful New Year.

    • Cathy says:

      You are so protective of the Golfer, John, and I always relay your comments to him. In truth he doesn’t have the head for heights that he used to have, but he is very good on knowing how to make the ladders and scaffolding as safe as possible

  10. Thank you very much Cathy for sharing with us your thoughts, projects and opinions about your garden. Thank you for showing us the year of your wonderful garden, I love it, especially sweet peas and roses. I have missed very much not having been able to go this summer to my country house and enjoy my garden. In this 2021 I do not know if he will be able to go, because in these times you cannot make plans neither in the short nor in the long term. Cathy for 2021 I wish you to continue with your creative projects helped by the golfer and a happy gardening. Enjoy your wonderful garden !!! Very affectionate greetings from Margarita.

    • Cathy says:

      It must be so difficult to have a garden and house that you can’t go to – and as you say, you can’t even make any longterm plans yet

      • It is difficult and painful, because the last time I was there was two days at the beginning of September 2019, not even a month after the death of my dear Father. Since then I have not returned and the garden is without watering. With the heat of this summer, which has been the hottest of the century in that area, everything will be dry. If I can go this year, I don’t know what I’m going to find. We always used to go from late April or early May to mid-October or late, depending on how cold it was. I could enjoy the garden, take care of it and garden: plant new flowers and plants and enjoy my roses and their perfume. It was wonderful: my Father, my Mother, me and my beloved dog Antón who was absent from 2017 due to his death. Very affectionate greetings from Margarita.

        • Cathy says:

          Such sad memories, Margarita, but I hope you are able to visit again this year and find some joy tending your garden

          • Cathy mingles very sad and very happy memories at the country house. Very sad because my dear Father left there to enter the Emergency Department at a Hospital in Madrid and died 11 days later. But my Father lived many very happy moments in the country house and in his garden and I with him: I will keep these moments and his favorite corners of the garden I will take care of them with a lot of love and affection, because I liked to sit next to him our beloved dog Antón at his feet and enjoying the song of what and together or deciding the route of the afternoon walk or he told me things that Antón had done when he had taken him for a walk in the field: they were both very close, both that when Antón died two years before my Father, my dear Father gave a slump; he no longer went out for a walk with joy, he went out because he was diabetic and had to walk. In 2018 he already started to get worse from his numerous illnesses and the walks were shorter and he sat in the garden for a long time. In 2019 we went to the country house because he decided to go, even though it was bad, and we stayed for 4 days: the first day he sat in the garden, and the other two in bed without leaving it at all. On the 4th, I returned to Madrid directly to the Hospital Emergency Room: it was August 1 and he died on the 11th. But I really want to go back to the country house and remember the good times we spent together there, because he was the best Father of the world for me, the kindest and most affectionate and he loved me as much as I loved him. And I’m going to plant a tree in his honor. Cathy forgive me for being so outspoken, but I consider you my friend, and I wanted you to know my feelings towards my country house. Thank you very much for your understanding and I’m sorry again. Very affectionate greetings from Margarita.

  11. Heather F. says:

    The sweet peas are beautiful! The aerial shot is fun; it’s nice to see how the different pieces fit together.

    • Cathy says:

      Thans Heather – there is a map under The Garden tab too which tells you what the different bits are, but it does need updating again

  12. tonytomeo says:

    Even with all the craziness last year, it did not seem to be so bad, or as bad as it could have been. I had it rather easy, but am impressed by the attitude of those who did not. Many of our neighbors lost their homes to fire, but are doing surprisingly well through the recovery.

    • Cathy says:

      Yes, for those with resilience of course, but sadly those suffering from mental health and anxiety will have found the year very hard

  13. Cathy says:

    What a lovely round up of the year Cathy. I wish you lots of fun in the garden this year and am sure there will be some interesting and creative new projects you will share. 😃

    • Cathy says:

      When I looked back at the year, I was surprised how much we had achieved, but I only included a few – no projects in mind for next year yet though!

  14. Brian Skeys says:

    Happy New Year Cathy. The video plays well on YouTube, just out of interest what software did you use to edit it?

    • Cathy says:

      Thank you Brian. There was no editing at all, just uploaded directly to YouTube and the music added from their own library of free music. I haven’t yet investigated whether I can add any titles directly on YouTube, but I was just so pleased that it uploaded smoothly and relatively quickly – the previous month it took ages to upload. I will also try and find at least a few more tracks of a suitable length to give me some choice

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