We have reached the time of year when I take stock of the garden over the past 12 months, reviewing the successes and the failures. It won’t surprise anyone who lives in the UK that this has been the driest year of the six I have been living in Cornwall. As I did in my first year, this one has been a year for letting the garden get on with it to see how well it is doing and whether plants need editing or removed. My only purchases this year have been a few annual plug plants, a couple of new Hydrangea and some grasses and thalictrum (to be planted next year) despite temptations!
(1) Success. The last bit of the gravel garden has taken off nicely with the exception of the Gaura which sadly did not survive the wet winter. In its place I have planted another Geum which was not doing very well under the contorted Hazel. The lovely blue geraniums that I grew from seed last year are G. pratense – the meadow geranium. I hadn’t however expected them to grow so tall!
(2) Success. For me anyway, growing annuals from seeds! A few Sunflowers, Cornflowers, Love-in-the-Mist, Rudbeckia and Cosmos. Who knows I might repeat this next year, though I do find all the sowing and pricking out and potting on a bit of a faff.
(3) Failure. The raised Bee and Butterfly bed was not cleared in the spring as I had intended to do, with the exception of the Cape Fuchsia (Phygelius ‘African Queen’) which is now back in a container. Cinquefoil has run riot in these beds so I will clear the whole lot next spring and divide some of the perennials before adding more Grasses and Thalictrum to continue the more naturalistic look of the garden which I like.
(4) Success. The Martagon lilies that were planted in 2021 actually managed to grow and flower. I used plastic bottles as a cloche over the new growth as it emerged from the soil which seemed to help prevent the S&S from chomping them to the ground. I must remember to do the same this spring.
(5) Success. My spring bulb selection. This year I placed a lot of the smaller bowls on top of my potting table to create a spring display. It worked rather well and kept me smiling for a couple of months.
And of course my tulips made me very happy too.
(6) Failure. The raised bed area. Nothing happened here despite my ideas for a pond though I have cut down the bamboo and slowly removed it which was no easy feat in the heat of the summer. Blisters, back injuries, swollen hands and cuts and bruises were part of the experience but I was determined to dig it out. Of course some will return as I have huge boulders along the fence under which the roots have spread. For some reason I lacked motivation this year and have been racked with indecision over what to do next. This area will now wait until the spring. Hopefully over winter I will reach a conclusion! And if the Kilmarnock Willow tree has to be removed that will create an additional open space next to this area.
I shall be taking a break from the SoS over the next few months as there is never anything interesting in my garden over the winter months and often it is too wet and windy to get outside, but I hope to be back with all my SOS friends in February when hopefully life in the garden will resume. I will of course still be checking in on what everyone else is up to and if you want to get involved then please follow Jim, our new host.
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