Summary of 2013.

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.

Snowdrops and hellebores

The first flowers to appear in the woodland are the snowdrops and are soon joined by the hellebores.

Bowl of 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.

Portia the pheasant

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.

Snakeshead fritillaries

The pheasants are rather partial to fritillary flowers, so we didn’t have the numbers of flowers that we usually had.

various narcissus

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!

Snakeshead Fritillaries

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.

Bog cowslips

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.

Bog garden

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.

Crocosmia Lucifer

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.

Drought, fallen leaves

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.

Drought in August

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.

August drought

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!

Silver washed fritillary

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.

Bees on echinops

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.

Jersey Tiger Moth

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.

Pontaderia in the pond

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!

Cyclamen hederifolium

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.

Pyracantha berries

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.

Spiders web

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.

Acer Osakazuki

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.

Storm damage

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.

Candel lit supper

The lighting wasn’t good enough to read by, so…….

Wind up radio

……..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.

Cornus autumn tints

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

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

Acer Osakazuki finally made it, a good month later than usual, worth the wait though for this fantastic colour!

First frost on R. Bonica

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?

Cornus and silver birch

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.

Sweeping leaves

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.

Viburnum b. Dawn

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.

First snowdrop

Here is my first snowdrop by the front door, but where has its label gone?

Snowdrop book

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!

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42 Responses to Summary of 2013.

  1. Chloris says:

    I love your garden, Pauline. It is absolutely gorgeous and just the sort I like. You have a wonderful collection of Hellebores. I would love to grow blue poppies, do you have an acid soil? Those butterfly shots were impressive they are so difficult to catch sitting still.
    I think the snowdrop looks like Galanthus elwesii ‘Heimalis’ I have a group out at the moment. It is a very welcome sight.
    Happy New Year!

    • Pauline says:

      Hi Chloris, yes our soil is just the acid side of neutral, acid enough for Rhodos and camellias, although some hydrangeas struggle to be blue!
      Once the snowdrop flower opens I should be able to identify it, definitely now that I have 3 books to help!
      Happy New Year to you Chloris.

  2. Jayne says:

    What a wonderful round up! I am glad you are feeling better and wish you good health in the new year!!

    • Pauline says:

      Thank you Jayne for your good wishes, my legs feel stronger each day. So glad you enjoyed the round up of the year, it was good to look back and see all the flowers that we had, the sun was shining much more than I remembered!

  3. Gitte says:

    You have a wonderful garden full of gorgeous flowers. I great summary of 2013. Im glad that you are well again.
    I wish you a Happy New year, and hope to see many new photos from your garden next year.

    • Pauline says:

      Thank you for your good wishes Gitte, Happy New Year to you and your family too!
      I am feeling stronger each day and will soon want to be out in the garden again, it is very wet at the moment from all the storms, have they come over to you?

  4. Liz says:

    Hi Pauline,

    I’m glad to hear you’re feeling better now – I hope you feel back on top soon! Did you have a nice Christmas though?

    Lovely recap of the year in the garden, just need to work on mine! Let’s hope 2014 is similar, although perhaps let’s leave out the late snows like we had earlier this year. Otherwise I’m quite happy with this year in general – other than the annoying recent storms, but we’ve got off lightly here and other than it being windy the rain hasn’t been *too* bad.

    Looking forward to spring in your garden, and one day I might have enough Hellebore blooms to put in a bowl like you do 🙂

    • Pauline says:

      Hi Liz, yes, I did have a nice Christmas thank you, I prepared a lot in advance, just a bit each day, and put it in the freezer, so there wasn’t much to do on the day itself and I had lots of willing helpers!
      I think the only real problem last year was when we had the drought in the summer, it was far too hot for me and for our plants, they’re just not used to it! The garden is very wet at the moment with all the storms that we have had, but actually the sun is shining at this very minute.
      Wishing you “all the best” for 2014 in your new garden, will look forward to seeing it!

  5. Angie says:

    Good to read you are on the mend Pauline – I hope a full recovery isn’t too far away.
    What a wonderful review – it’s difficult to beat the silver birch and red cornus stems. If I had one wish for my garden that combination would be top of that list every time!
    All the best for you and yours in 2014!

    • Pauline says:

      Thank you for your good wishes Angie, I am feeling stronger each day.I enjoyed looking back over the year, there was a lot I had forgotten, but not the silver birch and cornus, we will be looking at that each day for the next few months!
      Wishing you and your family all good wishes for 2014!

  6. Annette says:

    Hi Pauline, thanks for this wonderful tour of your garden! So much to take in, I don’t know where to start but I definitely love your woodland and all the bulbs, helleborus. The Fritillaria m. are just splendid. I planted lots of them and hope they multiply in due course. You have such a well planned, attractive and varied plot. Have a healthy and happy new year and keep enjoying your garden, best wishes, Annette

    • Pauline says:

      Annette, if I had to say which was my favourite part of the garden, it would be the woodland. When we moved here it was just brambles and nettles beneath the huge old trees, since then I have found woodland plants to be fascinating and look forward to each spring to see the tapestry formed by the beautiful flowers.
      Wishing you a wonderful New Year in your garden, I love reading about it.

  7. Anna says:

    Oh I thought that you had gone quiet Pauline and and am so sorry to read that a nasty virus had got the better of you. I hope that you are soon fully recovered and stepping out again into the garden is a good sign. I have just got the Freda Cox book too to help me with the dilemma of lost snowdrop labels. I hope that the new year treats you and your beautiful garden kindly. Take care xxx

    • Pauline says:

      Thanks Anna, I feel stronger each day, although the old legs are still a bit wobbly! I wonder where all our labels go from our snowdrops?! Just as well we have got some lovely books to help us identify them! Thanks for your good wishes, Happy New Year and happy gardening in 2014.

  8. Hi Pauline, I am sorry to hear that you have been under the weather. Such a miserable time of year to be sick! I enjoyed the year long tour of your garden and was reminded of how many wonderful plants you have. The Snowdrop book looks terrific! I am going to look for a copy. Have a wonderful New Years celebration! All the best for 2014!

    • Pauline says:

      Lovely to hear from you Jennifer, and thanks for your concern, I had plenty of help over Christmas, so everything was fine. I am enjoying my new snowdrop book, no excuse for not being able to identify any without labels! Happy New Year to you and your family, I hope it’s a good one for you.

  9. Cathy says:

    Oh Pauline, I was aware that we hadn’t heard from you for a little while – so sorry you have been laid low and hope you continue to gain strength. You must have been so thrilled to have found your snowdrop when you were able to venture out – almost as it had been planned that way. We both love our woodlands and their flowers so it was a pleasure to be reminded of your lovely blooms with their promise of more to come. I still remember your poppies – the colours in that picture are so so glorious! Best wishes to you and yours for 2014.

    • Pauline says:

      Cathy, I’m getting better each day, soon I will have the energy to be out amongst the snowdrops once more! Looking back through all the photos reminded me that I had forgotten about the poppies, such an unexpected surprise! Wishing you a very happy gardening year in 2014!

  10. rusty duck says:

    A glorious set of photos Pauline. I look at your garden and hope that one day mine will be the same. Beautiful fritillaries, I bought £20 quid’s worth of pot grown specimens this year and within an hour the pheasants had nipped off every flower. What to do? I love having the birds in the garden. RIP Portia.
    I’m sorry to hear you’ve not been well and so glad you are on the mend. Have a very Happy New Year.

    • Pauline says:

      I bought a few bulbs Jessica, of fritillaries and they have gone from strength to strength. They are in the damp end of the woodland, I think they like it a bit moist. We have pheasants in the garden every spring, but this is the first time they have been destructive, maybe I will have to run a wire fence round in future! I leave mine to go to seed and now they get better each year.
      Thanks for your concern Jessica, I’ll soon be back to normal. Do have a Happy New Year and lots of gardening fun in 2014!

  11. Cathy says:

    It was lovely to see a whole year in one post Pauline! Glad you’re feeling better now. Have a very Happy New Year!

    • Pauline says:

      Cathy, it brought back some very happy memories looking at the year in one go. Soon I will be back gardening again, searching for my snowdrops, many thanks for all your comments. I hope you have a wonderful year gardening!

  12. Helen says:

    You have such wonderful plants and so many of my favourites. My parents used to have pheasants visiting their old garden and they had a tendency to sit on my Mum’s favourite perennials and scratch up the borders so beware. Thanks for joining in with the meme this year.

    • Pauline says:

      Hi Helen, we have had pheasants visiting ever since we moved here 23 yrs ago, but this is the first time they have done any damage, I will have to start chasing them in future! Glad you enjoyed the post.

  13. Thanks for the lovely photo journey! Happy New Year! Blessings, Natalie 🙂

  14. Wow – lots to take in there Pauline and some amazing photos. Very jealous of your Silver Washed Fritillary and Jersey Tiger moth – neither of which I’ve seen. Good luck for 2014 – and a return of a white pheasant. (Never seen one of those either). Dave

    • Pauline says:

      Dave, we did have some special visitors in the summer didn’t we, we were so lucky to spot them and photograph them. I would have thought you would maybe have both, being in the south of the country. The last white pheasant we saw was when we lived in the NW, about 25 yrs ago! Shame about Portia, she was killed, we presume by the local fox before her eggs hatched, would any of her offspring have been white I wonder?

  15. Caro says:

    Ah, Pauline, so glad to have you back again – and with such a wonderful, vibrant look back over the year! I’ve been glued to this post, so many gorgeous photos to look at – your garden is truly spectacular. I wish I could boast of as many fantastic plants, it really has been a good year for colour and fruit! I shouldn’t say it but, actually, I love all your poppies instead of veg, even if they’re not edible!! Thank you so much for this tour of your garden – I love it! Happy New Year and wishing you all the best for 2014!

    • Pauline says:

      Between you and me Caro, I was so delighted with the poppies, I couldn’t bear to pull them all out to grow my veg! I enjoyed looking back over the year, some things I had forgotten, so it was nice to be reminded.
      I hope you had a lovely New Year and wish you all the best for 2014.

  16. wellywoman says:

    Sorry to hear you haven’t been well. Hope you’re feeling better. I hope you and your garden survive all this rain too. As I’m writing the rain is bouncing off our windows… AGAIN!!! It looks like the south west and Wales are in for a bad night. It is lovely to have a look back over the year because it does give perspective, especially when the weather is so bad at the moment. Wishing you and your family a happy and healthy 2014. WW x

    • Pauline says:

      I’m feeling quite a bit better thank you WW, I’m beginning to feel frustrated that I can’t get out into the garden because of all the rain! The soil is so sodden, its best to keep off it until it dries out a bit.Can’t say the storm kept me awake last night, maybe it wasn’t as bad as expected. Looking back over the year reminded me of lots that I had forgotten, mainly the heat in the summer!
      Wishing you and your family a wonderful 2014!

  17. A beautiful retrospective beginning and ending with all my favorite flowers, snowdrops, hellebores, and cyclamen. I would love to know what you think of the new snowdrop book. The cover is beautiful. Happy New Year.

    • Pauline says:

      I’m enjoying the new snowdrop book Carolyn, lots of photos of different varieties and Freda Cox is a botanical artist so there are lots of paintings and drawings of hers showing the different markings. On page 114 in the chapter on Snowdrops around the World, there is a mention of “Galanthophile Carolyn Walker of Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, who has a 2.5 acre garden and nursery specializing in shade loving plants, including numerous bulbs and snowdrops, which she also sells by mail order” Is this who I think it is?!
      Happy New Year to you too Carolyn.

  18. Christina says:

    Glad you’re feeling better Pauline and I hope it didn’t spoil your Christmas. what a lovely review of your gardening year; your garden really is beautiful in every season. I hope you have a great gardening year in 2014 and that the pheasants don’t eat too many of your Fritilaries this year! All my very best wishes, Christina

    • Pauline says:

      Thank you for your good wishes Christina, I am feeling a lot stronger now and yes, we had a lovely Christmas in spite of it! I will certainly be keeping watch over my fritillaries this year, woe betide any pheasants that go near them!
      With every good wish for 2014 to you and yours.

  19. pbmgarden says:

    Enjoyed seeing your garden retrospective and looking forward to more. Wishing you a full and speedy recovery. Best, Susie

    • Pauline says:

      Thanks Susie, I’m feeling a lot stronger as the days go by. I enjoyed looking back, it reminded me of all sorts of things that I had forgotten.

  20. Pauline, I’m so sorry to hear you have been ill, especially at the holidays. I’m becoming a bit of a germaphobe, as I had two very nasty viruses last winter, so I’m washing my hands much more frequently. Take care of yourself and don’t try to do too much until you’re up to it.

    The garden review is grand. I particularly like the wildlife…very impressed with your frogspawn and wooly bees! Sadly, I don’t have pheasants, but there is a blue heron that stalks the river and recently we saw the river otter for the first time this winter. Spiders and webs are a favorite of mine too; I saw some wonderful dew-covered webs around the pond at Tylney Hall when I was in Hampshire in September.

    Best wishes for an equally glorious 2014!

    • Pauline says:

      Thank you so much for your concern Marian, I got lots of help over Christmas and Boxing Day was spent with us all going to our daughter and family in Bristol, so no cooking for me there! I am feeling much stronger now, its just such a nuisance when all the muscle pains are started off by a simple cold, I will have to follow your example with more hand washing.
      I enjoyed looking back over the years photos, they brought back happy memories. Hopefully we will have more of the same flowers this year with the addition of lots of annuals sown from seed.
      How wonderful to see an otter, we have only ever seen one while on holiday in Scotland!
      Best wishes for a wonderful garden filled year in 2014!

  21. Helle (Helen) says:

    A brilliant idea showing your garden year with photos. I tend to forget exactly how the weather was when, but having photos makes remembering that much easier. You have so many lovely plants in your garden – and birds – my favourite, as usual, was the Meconopsis.
    A little bit late now, but I wish you a happy new year and that you’ll get back on your feet soon.


    • Pauline says:

      Lovely to hear from you again Helle, and a Happy New Year to you too! I’m feeling a lot stronger, thank you, can’t wait till the soil dries out a bit and then I can get back in the garden.

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