My 2018 in photos: July to December

Today I’m sharing the second half of my year in photos, featuring posts I enjoyed and which have sparked memories as I’ve looked back over the past year. I’ve also realised there’s many more posts that I haven’t shared, so that’s good news, as there’s plenty more to come - and plenty more lovely gardens to keep us entertained during the winter.





I think these photos, along with those in the first post are a good reflection of the best bits of my year. 2018 was in many ways a tricky year, but it wasn’t without its high points as I think my year in photos shows.

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.

Reflecting on my week #65

There’s something about the dawn of a new year that makes us much more reflective isn’t there?  I’m no different and I’ve used some of my time away from work over Christmas as some time to just be and do what I want, when I want.  Although if I’m honest, it went quite quickly.

Before Christmas MOH mooted the idea that he might work from home in between Christmas and New Year but quickly got the message that this wouldn’t be appreciated from the look on my face alone.  That’s a hereditary thing I think, at our family ‘fake’ Christmas earlier in December my niece claimed to have acquired this skill from the family, and if truth be known, so have I.  

Hey ho – all I can say is sometimes it’s useful, other times less so.

But one of things I enjoyed doing was a proper look back at the year, so much happens that we skim over, you know the small stuff and often the positive things at that.  You know the enjoyable moments, the things that make us smile and that somehow get swept away in the whirlwind of everyday life.

For the first time in a few years I downloaded one of the many workbooks available online to take a more structured look at this year, and to sure to start thinking about my word for 2019 (more on that tomorrow).

Photo by  Oscar Blair  on  Unsplash

Photo by Oscar Blair on Unsplash

This year my word was kind, something I think I mostly remembered, but something I had to remind myself of too.  2018 has been a peculiar year for us in many ways with plenty of emotions, both happy and sad.  That’s usual for most years I guess, but there seemed to have been more extremes, but some days, weeks, months are like that.

But we all have the power within ourselves to remember and focus on the good things, well I believe that anyway, and I’m sure it’s a mindset approach, which is natural for some (me) and can be learnt by others, but that’s a whole other blog post.

So while I didn’t get as much done as I’d have liked in the garden , in this post I’m looking back at five positive memories from 2018, because as Linford Christie once said: Positive Mental Attitude!

  1. Dinner at the Gravetye: we finally used the voucher which was a gift from our 110th celebrations back in 2017.  The food was great, the setting was great, and it was great to sit and ponder how life after 50 had been, so far.

  2. Getting my crochet on: this year has been the year that crochet has become my thing.  I’ve finished a project, started a new one and planned many more.  That said, my hook hasn’t been out for a while and so I need to rectify that soon.

  3. Visiting the Chelsea Flower Show on preview day: Chelsea is always good fun, but I learnt this year that it’s even more fun without the crowds, so much so, that I’m hoping to do the same again in 2019 – fingers crossed.

  4. The carpet of pink blossom in Greenwich Park: Spring, closely followed by Autumn, is my favourite season, it’s the season that’s full of hope and where your heart starts to sing again, and your head believes it too.

  5. Taking the plunge and renovating our conservatory: I know that’s a big thing – and it was on the whole a positive experience, but one of the things I don’t want to forget is the discovery of newspaper behind the architrave.  History fascinates me, and the history of our house even more so.

Even just setting out to write this post, I tended to focus on the recent past.  A quick scroll through my Instagram feed and a proper think about the year threw up plenty more memories, and more than the five I set out to find.

So what, will you remember from 2018?  And what will you challenge yourself to remember?

* This is a collaborative post but all views are, as usual, my own.