As well as my usual end of year round ups, this year I thought I'd also look back at some gardens I've visited, my own garden and our plot too. I've realised that I enjoy sharing my love of gardens and gardening here on the blog and so I thought I'd acknowledge that with a gallop through the gardens in the Loire from our cycling trip in the summer.
Most of the French gardens we visited had a rather large chateau attached to them too, which were also great to wander around. Our first chateau was Chambord and while the grounds were extensive, and the chateau breathtaking, the gardens not so much. In fairness we arrived just as it reopened after the floods, but thankfully the gardens at Cheverny and Chenonceau made up for it.
And would you believe it but I stumbled upon a garden full of hedges too!
And the good news is I've still got at least a couple more French gardens to share. I've been rather slow to get on with these, I think because so much has happened since we've been home. But coming up you can expect more hedges, this time from the very famous parterres at Villandry, which was one of the places I designed the whole holiday around. As well as those little hedges, there were plenty more "garden rooms" there, and the chateau, which for me was a side event, exceeded all my expectations.
The other post I'm excited to share here is our cycle through a French allotment site, which we *may not* have done entirely by mistake <insert innocent face>. I'm also rather a little bit too proud of these photos as many of them I took "on the go" as we cycled around looking for a way out...
A year in my garden
In my garden 2016 will forever be known as the year of the circles. Although at the rate we're going adding the edging that could easily stretch into at least 2018! But it's good to have a project, isn't it?
Obviously there was more going on than just circles; it was also the year of the gardening gloves, and mouldy pears and much, much smaller trees. At least that's a job that won't need repeating this year.
This year in our garden we'll be making progress with the edging (we will make progress, we will make progress!) and there'll be all the usual maintenance jobs. This year the greenhouse needs a good scrub because it the glass is rapidly becoming green, ahem.
We'll be aiming to get the black sheeting down and top that with slate so we can finally get rid of the giant bags of skate that have been decorating our garden since 2013. I'll be looking for some low maintenance plants to accompany the little Christmas tree and other plants I keep acquirin, and we'll be getting our garden summer party ready - as this year we'll be having a 110th celebration out there. That's two significant birthdays and a tenth wedding anniversary in case you were wondering.
A year on the plot
We've had a good year on the plot and are still pulling up turnips, and eating our homegrown butternut squash. There's still the promise of some celeriac (fingers crossed), some leeks, although the ones that survived MOH stomping on them are pencil thin - but the small ones are more expensive to buy right?
And there's all my brassicas too.
And because I'm a geek a hear I've been keeping a spreadsheet of what we picked and costing that against the price of produce in the shops, it was prompted by MOH questioning if it was worth having an allotment.
The number of years I waited for one, I'm not about to give it up yet!
And gardens closer to home too
I've also visited plenty of gardens in the UK. I was wowed by my first visit to RHS Hyde Hall in Essex and rekindled my love of roses, which started in the Loire. It was a gloriously sunny day the day I visited and I was glad I was able to wander around the gardens instead of the long bike ride MOH was doing.
As well as Hyde Hall I've been to RHS Wisley in October and I haven't shared anywhere near enough photos from there. In October we had a few days in Devon and I clocked up many National Trust property visits, and have shared none of those yet. And of course, in November there was unquestionably my garden highlight, when I got to visit River Cottage HQ. Yes, that was the day I drive to Devon and back and yes, that was slightly mad!
So quite a lot to look forward too garden-wise in 2017, and that's before my trip to Munich later this month. It is just a flying visit, but I'm pleased to be visiting the STIHL and Viking factory at Kufstein. I will, of course, be sharing what I get up to.
What's your garden plans for this year?