My year in gardens

In this post I’m taking a wander back through my own garden and the gardens I’ve visited to share some highlights of my gardening year. Not surprisingly May and June were busy gardening months, what with visits to the Chelsea Flower Show and Gardeners’ World Live, so once again there’s one or two more photos than I set out to include.

As you’d expect my year in gardens got off to a slow start, and in January I pondered the changes in my succulent in a tin. Over the winter months it had gotten much smaller and much greener than it had been, which is something I’d not noticed before.

By February though I’d remembered that the glasshouses at Wisley were warm, and so we headed off for a visit and saw the butterflies again. i didn’t capture as many of the butterflies as I had before, but our visit was no less enjoyable, and the orchids caught my attention too.

There still wasn’t much actual garden activity in March and instead I looked back to our visit to Compton Acres the year before. It’s a small independent garden in Poole, Dorset - and actually it’s probably not that small, it’s a great place to visit and I’ve still some more to share from there. The Memory Garden had a poignant story, and I snapped a favourite photo there too.

We’d visited Devon earlier in the year, but our weekend was cut short as the snow came in, but not before we’d spent some time exploring the gardens at Cannington and Hestercombe, which will feature later in this post. And I remembered that glasshouses are warm mantra and we spent some time in the tropical zone.

By April I was out in my own garden for a proper look around, the first one of the year - and despite the snow the month before, the cherry blossom was already out. We should have known back then that it would be a crazy weather year.

I also shared some photos from our visit to Hestercombe, and the symmetry and elegance of the Edwardian formal garden shows that with good structure gardens can look good at any time of the year. Hestercombe is another independent garden which is well worth a visit, and along with Cannington and my desire to visit both formed the plans for our route to Devon on this trip. Seriously. And it was worth it.

May is a busy gardening time, but I found some time to potter in the greenhouse and take care of my succulent babies - just look how many they were. Succulents are a favourite, as you probably know, but I also like them as they’re pretty self-sufficient too, which this year has been a very good thing.



May also saw me head to the Chelsea Flower Show on Press Day, and I couldn’t not include one of those posts in my year in gardens. As I’ve already included part one of the highlights in my year in photos, it felt only right to include the second part here which focuses on the Grand Pavilion and its two football pitches of loveliness - and yes, I think I walked almost every part of it. The displays throughout the show, are as you’d expect, simply stunning.

In June we were off out and about again, this time at Gardeners’ World Live - my first time at the show. It was another day of much walking trying to cover as much of the exhibits as possible. There were plenty of favourites, but I think my overall favourite was the Made in Birmingham garden, which I’ve realised this is the only photo I’ve shared of it - I’ll have to put that right this year.

In July we had a week in Yorkshire and clocked up a number of garden visits there, some of which I’ve already shared as part of my year in photos, so for this post I’m heading back to Chelsea again and sharing this amazing structure by Tom Raffield, which I impressed myself with by recognising his work. It is quite distinctive though, and beautiful too.

The warm summer months meant there wasn’t much gardening taking place in our garden even when we had time even if we didn’t have the energy or inclination, but we were able to spend some time enjoying the weather and our garden’s fragrance. It was our best year for honeysuckle, and the jasmine came into its own in the warm summer evenings too - I can smell it now, heaven.

My gardening bug started to return by September, and I finally got around to planting some of the herbs I’d bought into the triangular spaces between our gabion seating. I’d hit on an ingenious idea to line the spaces with an old compost sack, which seems to have worked a treat.

As the weather cooled slightly we started to garden more, we needed to tame some of our plants which hadn’t seemed to slow their growth that much despite the heat. With MOH around less, and me being a wobbly wreck when up a ladder meant that the pruning and trimming higher up just wasn’t happening, as I was loathed to wobble up a ladder when he wasn’t around. Normally he’ll hold the ladder still for me, occasionally I’ll persuade him up there instead of me directing where he should cut from the ground, but either way I wasn’t keen on toppling off and having to pick myself up.

And to partly combat that we bought ourselves a new ladder, and one that we’d been contemplating for a while. Back in May MOH had tested one out at Grand Designs Live and I’d ogled them at Chelsea too. In October our ladder got its first try out, and not a wobble in sight, phew.

Then November saw a series of weekends away, we were only home for one weekend and that’s because I refused to go anywhere. One of our trips was to our fourth RHS garden of the year, and so the clear contender for this month’s photo was the autumny orangeness (and other colours) of pumpkins at RHS Rosemoor.

Which neatly brings us to December, and another reflection in water. Not quite such pretty surroundings as the photo from March, but a stunning reflection under our cherry tree with one of the stunningly blue - and for December, warm - skies. 2018 certainly delivered all kinds of weather, and not always in the season we expected.

So despite much less gardening for us this year, there was some and there were plenty of garden visits too. If anything there was possibly less garden related posts here on the blog, but the good news is there’s plenty more to come.