2018 – Top Ten Gardening Highlights

As the year comes to a wet and drizzly end, I’m indoors in front of a roaring fire, keeping warm and dry (and feeling a little guilty as there there are jobs to be done here in Wales!). I am of course, looking forward to the seasons of 2019, but today I’m also reflecting on my gardening highlights of 2018. It’s quite a difficult to task to prioritise a top ten, but I’ve whittled it down to my absolute favourites.

1.In March this year, we planted a young Rowan tree to replace a huge and very old silver birch that had died the previous Autumn. As you can see, there’s quite a gap to fill, despite the fact that we chose a fairly substantial young tree. The significance and rationale for this being first in the list? Well, later that day we received a phone call from our daughter, who gave us the fantastic news that she had just got engaged! Definitely highlight of the year and we’ll watch the tree grow thinking of the two of them.

2. Welcome to the new greenhouse! Such a highlight for me this year and it has been put to great use already. It’s such a grand structure, we decided to have a grand opening ceremony, with friends, tea and fizz! We’ve honoured it with a door wreath this Christmas, first of many no doubt. Thanks again to Robin MacGregor of Greenbug Greenhouses – a fabulous job.

3. The height of summer in our gardens. Summer 2018 was hot, dry and long – the gardens loved it!

4. I was so pleased to win the KLC Garden Design Blog competition for my April 6th blog, ‘Designing a Sensory Garden’ – this gave me the confidence to add a ‘follow’ button to this blog – but I’ve still to actively promote it (and learn how to tag effectively)!

5. Rye – we spent a relaxing and enjoyable few days here in September, visiting Sissinghurst, Great Dixter and Merriments gardens. However, the icing on the cake was undoubtedly the afternoon we spent on the nature reserve – it was wonderful, inspiring surely for any designer embarking on the development of a seaside garden.

6. We had some building work carried out this summer, including bi-fold doors out onto the back garden. Previously, we didn’t have a place to sit inside and look out – so the difference this has made to our house in Walsall is amazing. Here’s to happy times sitting inside, but feeling almost as though I’m in the garden (when there’s a moment to spare of course).

7. An amazing splash of Autumn colour at the Four Seasons garden in October. As previously blogged, mom and me were treated to a masterclass in acer pruning by one of the gardeners, Tony Newton. After a break of two years, it’s great to see the Newtons opening their garden again, under the National Garden Scheme.

8. Another garden visit, this time in August, to Stone House Cottage Garden in Worcestershire. I spent two hours wandering undisturbed through this beautiful abundantly planted garden with it’s impressive built structures, taking flower portrait photographs to include in a portfolio I’m putting together – I don’t often visit gardens alone, but I really enjoyed it. I’ll definitely return.

9. A morning spent at Wightwick Manor, a National Trust property and garden, on a photography lesson given by Lindsey Bucknor OBE. Lindsey gives tutored sessions in the gardens regularly and I thoroughly enjoyed it and learned from the many tips imparted, both about picture composition and also functions in the camera. I just had to finish with a flower portrait though!

10. There have been so many highlights, including visits to lots of gardens this year, my favourites included above. At number 10, I’ve chosen to include the moment I turned August over on this years Gardeners’ World Calendar, and there was my photograph of Anemone “September Charm’, taken at Trentham Gardens. It was a good feeling!

So here’s goodbye to 2018, and shortly, hello to a new gardening year in 2019 – Happy New Year!

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