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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A great overview. Beautiful reminder of spring and summer
It all seems so long ago!
I know what you mean🙂
What a great over view of the year – you had some gorgeous things in your garden.
This year was rather nice with the sunny weather instead of wet, though the reservoirs are still very low despite recent rains and we still have a hosepipe ban. Not that I need to use a hosepipe!
Your sunflowers are lovely.
I only got four to actually grow and they were sooo tall with rather small flowers, pretty though. I might have another go next year as I am sure I have some seeds left.
How satisfying to review your garden certainly look like more success than failures. Hope you have a gentle winter.
I was dead chuffed with the annuals grown from seed as I usually fail to have any germinate and those that do get eaten as soon as they go outside. I might try some more next year and I forgot to mention the Ammi majus which was also a success and very pretty.
Always interesting to read a good honest review and know that other people are troubled with indecision about planting areas too – although like me, I know you are willing to remove things you are not happy with. You have definitely had some pretty fullblown displays over the year 👍 Good luck with the tulips and spring bulbs again too ps I was more than a bit surprised to find shoots of Narcissus bulbicodium showing in the Coop this week (ideally I want them flowering when we open he garden in February!)…
I have noticed bulbs shooting up too, hopefully they will go dormant for a while with the lack of sunlight and short day.
Some lovely flowers and pretty beds. Enjoy your “winter break”.
I am impressed by your gardening skills, Jude. And your assessment is interesting to read. Sad and scary that it’s so dry everywhere. People here are getting rid of their lawns, smartly, and planting more drought resistant succulents.
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