As ever, there have been successes and failures in the garden this year, but, as other bloggers have commented, having a garden to escape to (and even just think about) I find a great source of solace in a challenging world.
Pressures of (virtually) full time work, and being off the island for three days every week meant things got a little out of control towards the end of the year, but early on the bulbs were glorious (after a rather extensive order was placed with Peter Nyssen in the autumn of 2015!)
The two beds created last year showed their first spring bulbs – here the Bronze Bed
and here the Mid Century bed.
There were still some returning tulips in the Swing Beds, but they were definitely depleted, so I’ve recently planted some more.
Later in the year I felt the beds lacked the cohesion that massed bulbs provide, so for the summer of 2017 I’d like to move towards larger clumps of fewer herbaceous varieties, but it’s oh so difficult to edit!
I still grew plenty of plants from seed with some lovely successes, firstly the ‘Winter Sunshine’ Sweet Peas, which, grown in the greenhouse, started flowering in the first half of April.
In June Papaver somniferum ‘Lauren’s Grape,’ returned after self seeding from the original plants grown the year before
and in July I was very chuffed with the display from my seed grown Agapanthus.
I tried a number of new dahlias, but suffered from the gardening equivalent of my eyes being too big for my stomach, and a number ended up in pots where they ultimately weren’t very happy, but there were some gorgeous blooms early on.
There were some pleasing planting combinations too (some accidental, let’s be honest!) but they tended to be on quite a small scale, rather than a whole bed, so again, room for improvement.
For the first time I had bees in the garden – Red Mason Bees, which don’t supply honey, but are endangered, so it was good to give them a home and is something I’ll repeat in 2017.
In the greenhouse, after the sweet peas had finished, I had pounds of tasty tomatoes
and the best ever success with aubergines, having swapped to the variety ‘Farmer’s Long.’
I thoroughly enjoyed contributing to Cathy’s meme ‘In a vase on Monday.’ Despite not having access to the Cutting patch I’d created in a neighbour’s plot in 2014 and 2015, I managed to find blooms in the main beds and enjoyed the challenge of bringing them together.
I posted fewer ‘Duver’ posts (the name of the National Trust land opposite the house and hence name of the blog) this year, but it continues to be a beautiful area to walk which changes daily with the seasons and weather.
Away from home I visited LOADS of gardens. I hadn’t realised how many until I looked them up for this post. (There were well over a dozen so I haven’t bothered to add all the links, but the posts are easily found by searching either the garden name or the ‘Garden Visits’ category).
February – Wisley and Sir Harold Hillier (below)
April – Nymans
May – Hyde Hall and Beth Chatto (below)
June – Cragside, Lindisfarne, Whalton Manor and Alnwick (below)
July – Blenheim House (NGS on the Isle of Wight) and West Green House (below)
August – Kew, Mottistone and West Dean (below)
and October – Jardines de Alfabia and Woolbeding (below)
On the learning front, I took a Propagation Course at West Dean, and continued with the second year of my Level 3 Certificate in Garden and Planting Design course at Capel Manor college. And, just as at the end of last year’s round up, I really should stop blogging and crack on with my latest college assignment. Perhaps in 2017 I’ll find time to put some of the knowledge into practice!
Wishing you and yours a fabulous, flowery 2017, and thank you so much for supporting Duver Diary with your views, likes and comments.