2020 – Top Gardening Highlights

The thing about taking photographs is that when you’re stuck for ideas about, well – highlights of a year like 2020, you’ve got a pictorial journal to remind you. For although 2020 has been really awful on so many levels, today I’m taking a look back through the pictures I’ve taken and lo and behold, I’ve found some great highlights and good memories.

The allowed daily constitutional – Walsall Arboretum has provided hundreds of people with a break from the reality of lockdowns, tier restrictions and their associated fears – including us. We are really lucky to have such a beautiful place in the centre of the Borough; its gardens, lakes and tree lined walks have been a joyful highlight of 2020 for many.

January 2020 – what a very long time ago and of course before we got any sense of the impact of the impending pandemic. I really enjoyed participating in Becky at the Life of B‘s January Squares challenge, #JanuaryLight, uploading a square photo each day with a ‘light’ theme. As I’m a garden and gardening blogger, I resolved to try and stick to my theme during the challenge, this example being cornus ‘Midwinter Fire’. When planted in groups or drifts it creates the illusion of firelight, crackling and warm once its leaves have fallen in late Autumn and it’s fiery stems are exposed. It was a really fun challenge and it certainly kept me occupied in January!

From May to September, I wrote a monthly blog featuring wildflowers, this photo was taken in July at Coed Y Foel in Llandysul (when we were allowed back in to Wales). Seeking out wildflowers in places ranging from the coast in Wales to the South Downs, Hampstead Heath and back to Walsall’s Arboretum and canal network was an absolute highlight in 2020 – the plethora of flora to be found when you’ve got your eyes open is amazing!

This wonderful baby Robin was a constant companion in the garden in Wales when we eventually managed to get there in July – heartwarming!

A highlight was success (albeit limited) with seeds, including the fabulous rudbeckia ‘dwarf mixed’ and these ‘Sungold’ and ‘Beefsteak’ tomatoes – I didn’t get many of the latter, but they were delicious and I will certainly be growing them again this year!

Garden visits were extremely limited, but our first ever visit to Old Court Nurseries and the Picton Garden near Malvern in October was such a treat! Being an aster specialist, there were carpets of these lovely daisies in all colours growing around the garden – gorgeous!

Flowers were an unexpected bonus when we went to play golf at the Worcestershire golf club in August – how fabulous are these meadow areas they’ve planted on the course! We enjoyed a great day and our first (socially distanced) meal out with lovely friends in five months – bliss!

What would we do without a rose? Always a highlight and these gorgeous specimens, ‘Iceberg’, ‘Summer Song’, ‘Munstead Wood’, ‘Albertine’ and ‘Lady Emma Hamilton’ in our garden never disappoint.

Another October highlight – the Van Gogh Alive exhibition at the Hippodrome in Birmingham. Beautifully created, this was a sensual experience, with music, light and fragrance accompanying the dramatic walk though the artist’s life – highly recommended if you get a chance to visit.

So that’s nine of our highlights this year – the best was in December, but it’s not quite ready to share – watch this space!

Best wishes for a happier, healthier and safer New Year – with fingers crossed for better times for us all in 2021…

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