At last I feel human once more, having been fighting a virus for 3 weeks,which once more started the muscle problems that I have. I have only just ventured forth into the garden today to see what is happening with all my plants and I found my first snowdrop! Everywhere looks very wet indeed and the woodland is littered with twigs and branches that have come down in the storms recently, thankfully though, no more trees damaged this time. I’ve had plenty of time to look through the years photos, it was very difficult to decide which to put in and which to leave out, I’ve tried to make it as short as possible, but make yourself a coffee you might be here for a while! To start with, last January, I’d forgotten that we had a few spells of snow, but nothing serious,
just enough to make us feel that winter had arrived at last.
The first flowers to appear in the woodland are the snowdrops and are soon joined by the hellebores.
I’ve found the best way to appreciate the hellebores is to float them on a bowl of water. Snowdrops and hellebores continue through February into March and the woodland gets prettier each week as more flowers appear.
Frogspawn was late arriving, at least a month behind last year, not appearing until mid March.
April was the first time that we were able to photograph the white pheasant which the village had named Portia. We enjoyed seeing her over the summer but unfortunately one of my neighbours found a pile of white feathers in their garden one morning, sadly Portia is now no more.
The woodland continued to flower with more and more woodland plants joining in with the last of the snowdrops, the hellebores and the narcissus.
The pheasants are rather partial to fritillary flowers, so we didn’t have the numbers of flowers that we usually had.
Narcissus are still flowering in April, here we have N. Geranium with St Patrick at the back, he arrived a month late, he should have been out on March 17th!
More buds opened up on the fritillaries, so all was not lost!
The interest now changes from the woodland to the pond and bog garden. On the left is a Lysichiton with a marsh marigold on the right. Only small at the moment are the leaves of a variegated Iris.
The right hand end of the bog garden is where I have a drift of cowslips, all grown from 3 plants given to me years ago, they are now allowed to seed around and increase.
Once the primulas start flowering in the bog garden, there is colour in this area for months.
I have been growing a lot of these from seed, hopefully by next year it will be a continuous colourful drift.
My favourite Meconopsis Lingholm are at the back of the bog garden border and at the right side where it is not quite so wet. Each year I grow some from seed, which reminds me, it is now time to take this years seed out of the fridge and get them started off once more. Once again these are about a month later than usual.
Instead of growing my usual vegetables, I grew thousands of poppies! They appeared from nowhere, must have been in the compost that we spread on all the veggie beds.
July is also when Crocosmia Lucifer flowers his socks off. No matter where you go in the garden, he is there with his bright red flowers, you can’t miss him. Having started off with just 10 corms, I think I need to split them now as flowering this year wasn’t as good as previous years.
This is still July, but it looks more like November with all the leaves on the lawn. Drought has struck and the leaves are being shed by the huge trees that we have to try and conserve moisture.
We had such high temperatures, for us anyway, the plants were all suffering as well as us! We were dashing round with buckets of water to try and save anything that was looking very stressed, lets face it, they are all used to lots of rain where we are.
Still a drought in August but the garden is coping, flowers are over very quickly with all the heat, but at least they are still flowering and even the grass is still green thanks to the heavy clay underneath!
August is also the time for day lilies or Hemerocallis, we have so many different varieties around the garden providing wonderful splashes of colour, they didn’t mind the heat at all!
We waited a long time for the butterflies to arrive, but once they started coming, there was no stopping them, clouds of them, so many different varieties, trying to photograph them was very tricky. This one is a Silver Washed Fritillary.
So many bees had also been busy in the garden all summer, but by this time it seemed as though there was a feeding frenzy with most flowers covered with bees and butterflies.
Visits from the Jersey Tiger moth always create excitement. This is the second year that we have noticed them in the garden here and hope that they will now make it a regular stopping off point in their search for nectar.
Various plants around and in the pond flower at different times, but in September it is the turn of Pontederia which sends up lovely blue spikes, the clumps are rather large now and beginning to take over so some thinning must be done this year, not a job I relish!
I always feel that autumn isn’t far away when I see Cyclamen hederifolium pushing through the leaf litter in the woodland, accompanied by the bright red berries of Arum italicum marmoratum.
Lots of bushes are now covered in berries which the birds will enjoy as the weather gets colder, these are on the Pyracantha bush by the front gate.
Still September but definitely an autumn feel when you wake up one morning and find spiders webs everywhere, glistening with the dew on them.
Thanks to all the heat and sun that we had a few months earlier, our Yucca decided to flower. Some years it doesn’t flower at all, some years it puts up a spike, then gets frosted before the flowers can open, but this year we were able to enjoy it for a long time before the first frosts came and finished it off.
The autumn tints were also a month behind, only just starting in late October when normally they are in their prime. This leaf is on Acer Osakazuki and shows the colour the tree will turn eventually.
October 28th was when the first storm of the Autumn/Winter hit us and we lost the top of one of the oaks in the woodland. The telephone wires were brought down and the electricity wires too. Men worked all day to get the power back on but we were able to cope, thanks to a gas hob to cook our meals and a wood burning stove to heat the sitting room.
The lighting wasn’t good enough to read by, so…….
……..we listened to music on our wind up radio. We had been without power all day and for most of the evening, it was lovely when it suddenly came back on. I do feel so sorry for the people that have been cut off for such a long time over Christmas with the recent storms, thank goodness we missed the worst of them.
Autumn tints were now everywhere, the Cornus alba sibirica Westonbirt along the drive is wowing us each day as we go in and out.
Acer Sango Kaku can be seen in the woodland from the house, the leaves turn such a beautiful pale yellow, we can still enjoy it even when it too cold to venture outside.
Acer Osakazuki finally made it, a good month later than usual, worth the wait though for this fantastic colour!
Our first frost came on November 30th and finally finished the flowers on Rosa Bonica, she had been flowering non stop since the beginning of June, so 6 months continuous flowering isn’t bad is it?
The frost also made the leaves fall on the cornus up the drive, but now we have the red stems to enjoy all winter along with the contrasting bark on the silver birches planted amongst them.
Most days in December has meant that someone (not me) has been out sweeping up the leaves every other day, still a few more to sweep up, but Christmas stopped any gardening activities.
There are a few shrubs flowering in the garden still, this Viburnum b.Dawn is joined by a couple of Mahonias, Sarcococca , Chaenomeles and Daphne.
Here is my first snowdrop by the front door, but where has its label gone?
Not to worry, I now have a new Snowdrop book to help me identify it!
If you have stayed the course, then thank you very much. I find that looking back over the year reminds me of all sorts of things that I should have done, but just didn’t get round to, must do them next year!
Thanks must go to Helen at The Patient Gardener for hosting the end of month/year review, do pop over to see what other gardeners have been up to during the year.
I’m too late to wish you all a Happy Christmas, but wish you all a Happy New Year and I hope that you and your garden have a wonderful time together!