Friday, 2 January 2015

2014 - The Bloomin' Best Bits!

A brief (well, probably not quite so brief) round up of the garden in 2014.

The year got off to a flying start here in Edinburgh.  It was a rather odd winter - no frost, no snow and very little rain.  In January I started 2 projects, I had to move the shed because water was getting in somewhere and a whole new area for planting presented itself and  I was spurred into trying to create a bit more privacy in the garden.  Since the planting in the garden is still very new (3 or 4 years for most things) I still feel very over looked and that coupled with the new neighbours over the back fence - sent me into a trellising frenzy!
Two winter flowering shrubs were happy as Larry in January




Testament to the incredibly mild winter, lots of spring bulbs were up and about in February.  Most of the snowdrops were blooming and the Crocus were just coming into bloom at the tail end of the month.




February also saw my first foray into what we often describe as special Snowdrops - you can read about the touching story of Sophie North and the snowdrop named for her here if you have not heard the story before.



I added a few more in April and I am filled with anticipation to see them all flowering for the first time in my garden in 2015:
  • Galanthus elwesii Mrs MacNamara
  • Galanthus Spindlestone Surprise
  • Galanthus Little Ben
  • Galanthus Bertram Anderson
  • Galanthus Jacquenetta
The vast majority of the trellising work and preparations for planting was almost done come March, it was all about selecting and choosing plants and getting them in the ground.  All plants settled in and done well in their first year, I look forward  to the scent of Honeysuckle and Roses combined with the abundant Clematis blooms next summer. 


March saw the Hellebores in full swing along with other spring beauties.  There was still plenty of bulbs coming in to bloom and the early flowering Corydalis were just coming into their own.  It's easy to forget just how much colour there is available at this time of the year.  It's been great looking back and realising that all this colour in the garden is not really too far away.

  











The alpines and crocus in the miniature garden were looking at good at this time of the year, one problem I forgot to address was lack of blooms later in the year, it's added to my to do list for 2015.


The garden was in full swing for most of April, again many plants flowering weeks earlier than they had in previous years, others, flowering bang on time.   As I go through all the shots I took in April, I am having difficulty choosing what to share this post.   My garden had 3 new trees planted in April.  A Rowan, Laburnum and Hawthorn.  I had thought long and hard about planting trees but decided that in the over all scheme of things I really needed trees.  I have seen many a garden smaller than mine support a few trees - the worst thing that can happen is that they get too big and I need to hire a tree surgeon!
 




As May arrives and the year marches on towards summer, going through old shots of blooms in May - white blooms are abundant.  The Acer, Magnolia and Primula combo has to be one of my favourites at this time of the year.


More shrubs flower in May in my garden than any other month.  The fact that my garden is relatively still immature planting wise - things can only get better in years to come.  Here's a few of my favourites that flower in May.




 

June and Summer is ready to get going!  June would not be June without the Paeony blooms. Paeonies are one of my favourite blooms - I know they are big and blousy and not to everyone's taste but I just can't help myself I LOVE PAEONIES!  But of course it's not all about the paeonies, right!
The softer shade of blooms at this time of the year give the garden a light airy bloom.  Roses and Clematis are just beginning to bloom too. 
 

 
I finally took the bull by the horns in June and started work on the front garden.  After much toing and froing, I decided Roses were the route to go.  Yet more trellising was added and the idea for an arch began forming.  This is how the front garden looked in June - the unveiling will take place in the first End of Month View post in January.  A first for me in so much as re organising the front garden was not quite so instant as I normally do.  Many plants were moved at the wrong time of year and took a while to settle back in.  Water, water and more water was needed!  I am excited to see how this area progresses this year and what tweeks will be needed.
     
The perfect weather of 2014 continued into July, the preceding months were certainly much warmer and drier than I ever remember.  As I look over the old pictures I am struggling to whittle them down but here are some of my favourites in bloom.  Of course, the paler colours of early summer give way for the darker tones and veer us towards the deeper colours of late summer.  There was a lot of lazing around in July, can you blame me?  There was so much to enjoy.
 
 
The planting to cover the trellising has put on some good growth in the first half of the year - it's not only us humans that are enjoying it.  The birds are having a whale of a time with it.  The fledglings have found a place to perch whilst their parents seek out nourishment for them.
 

     
Clematis bloomed and rebloomed in August and the foliage around the garden looked every bit as good as the flowers.  It was still dry and to be honest the perfect weather was not doing me any favours.  The hosepipe was on overtime. 


   
 
Late summer colour was plentiful and berries were ripening far earlier than they would in a normal year.  Work also continued on the front garden.  Autumn blooms appeared early too - a sudden drop in temperatures over a week must have spurred them into growth.  The cold snap didn't last too long and the garden, well, it carried on regardless.
 
 
 
 
 
It's taken me ever such a long time to write this post.  The more I look back at pictures the longer I linger over the thoughts of summer past.  I've been telling myself that I won't have long to wait and the garden's journey for 2015 begins again.
 
For the first time EVER, I was organised enough to order some spring bulbs for planting this autumn.  I usually either buy last minute when there is little stock too choose from or expensive ready to bloom pots in Spring.  I can do it when I put my mind to it.  I didn't go over the score though.  I purchased and planted 200 crocus and 20 dutch iris bulbs for the front garden.  I played safe with the Dutch Iris as I am not too sure if they will reappear in successive years, so a bit of an experiment really.  Getting these in the ground meant that planting had finished and all I had to do was play the long game and wait until February for those purple beauties too bloom.
 
As for blooms in September, the Roses, old and new stole the show.  After their initial flowering in June the older roses in the garden put out a magnificent show and the newbies - all yellows and peach coloured blooms pretty much made it to the top of my favourite plants in the garden this year.    
  
 



Some things were just as pretty down at ground level.  The clumps of Cyclamen hederifolium dotted around the garden are increasing in size now.  The clumps are now quite sizable and have a real impact now.    The Colchicum, after a bit of misunderstanding on identity, on my behalf have started increasing too. 



 
September 2014 saw many of the early flowering plants rebloom again and still looking great this late in the year was the new bed I planted out 6 months or so earlier.   Helianthus Lemon Queen was a real show stopper late summer.  The niggling doubts I had about planting it had completely disappeared.   Gardens in more southern parts of the UK can and do feel a bit tired by the time September arrives but our cooler temperatures and moist air really do bring out the best of some plants.   This later part of the year is also when we see most butterfly activity in our gardens.  The butterfly population was not quite as abundant as it had been in 2013 but we were not without our visitors.  Sadly, no new species visited the garden this year. 
 


 
 

 
As the garden moved into October, I often feel sad.  Knowing that the clocks change at the end of the month - winter heralds it's approach.  As I work nights, it also means seeing less daylight hours as the nights draw in.  I enjoy getting outdoors into the garden as much as I can and this October gave me plenty of reason too.  
 
At the risk of repeating myself, I feel the need to harp on about the perfect weather we had for 2014 - I just can't help myself, so please excuse me!  The blooms were just not for giving up as you can see. The Persicaria pictured below was now in it's fourth month of flower and was in fact still in bloom at the very end of November - broke a new record in my garden.  Flowering for 6 months of the year, it stole the record from Mahonia x media Charity, which flowered 2012/13 for almost 5 months.  You can see below that the Mahonia has come into bloom this October and is still beautifully in bloom as I type -the race is on!   I was pleased with my experiement of Rose/Sedum/Heuchera combo, it worked well.  I like it when a plan comes together. 
 
 




 
Between the months of October and November is a safe time to lift and move most perennials, I took the opportunity to make a few alterations to the shady bed and the bumblebee bed.   Again, the fruits of my labour will only be apparent this year.  My garden is no stranger to having blooms out of season, this Novemeber was no different to any other month of the year. 
 
  
 
 


 
By the time December arrived, the garden had come almost full circle.  Just as in January - the Hamamelis and Mahonia were in bloom and the first Hellebore buds started opening.  The tail end of the month saw us with frosty conditions, clearing in time for New Years Day. 


  
I touched on the topic of 'special snowdrops' at the beginning of the post and how I was looking forward to seeing them bloom in 2015.  One of the specials I added to the garden was Galanthus elwesii Mrs Macnamara (syn. G. Milkwood) blessed my garden mid December with her first bloom.  I am reminded of what lovely delights my garden has in store for me.
 
 
December too heralds the return of many bird species to the garden, where they will continue to eat me out of house and home until early summer.  From my Christmas vouchers I treated the birds to a couple of new Starling proof feeders.
 
Erithacus rubecula (Robin)

Cyanistes caeruleus (Blue tit)

Cyanistes caeruleus (Blue tit)

Of course, it's always nice to welcome new species in to the garden too.  Despite the fact that Wrens are the most common breeding bird in the UK, they are listed as least abundant here in Scotland. This is the first time I've spotted one in my garden.  This little wren has been appearing regularly this month.  The new trellising provides a smorgasbord of spiders and insects to get through winter.  Its sharp fine beak reaching into nooks and crevices other birds can't quite reach. 

Troglodytes troglodytes (Wren)
I know not why but I must have hit the publish button before I had time to finish this post, so if you are the first couple of readers, then I apologies - you never got to see the end!
 
I hope you have enjoyed looking back as much as I have. It has given me plenty to look forward too.  Knowing that many of the spring bulbs are well above soil level, I know that it won't be too long now.  We had our first snow fall today and thankfully it didn't lie - I have some new plants I bought that I want to get in the ground before I go back to work on Monday night.
 
 

32 comments:

  1. Oh, I did enjoy this look at your garden over the past year. Looking forward to seeing posts about what you've done in the front.

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    1. Thanks ever so much Alison. You were one of the readers that managed a preview before I finished.
      I think you only missed the birds at the end, so you didn't miss any blooms :)

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  2. My heart was singing as I reviewed this post! What a beautiful garden and a wonderful wrap-up of a great gardening year! I am envious of your Camellia. I tried to grow one in a pot, but it died within a few months. My zone is too cold for it to overwinter, but it died during the summer, when it should have been OK. I had planned to bring it in, but alas I guess I just shouldn't try to grow a Camellia--even in a pot. Anyway, beautiful plants and I wish you all the best in the gardening months ahead!

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    1. What a lovely thing to say Beth - thank you ever so much.
      Camelia williamsii are I think the most hardiest of the Camelias - or so I have read. They don't like conditions too dry either, they need the moisture to form the flower buds and acid conditions. I have read they cope with neutral too. Maybe worth doing a bit of research to see if you can source C. williamsii.

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  3. How beautiful your pictures are Angie! Every single one. I hope once again you have a good gardening year. In 2014, we had the opposite - a winter from hell. So far it looks like it is going to be better this year.

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    1. I hope you winter continues to be a good one Alain - we are on more of a normal winter here thus far.
      Wishing you a good gardening year too!

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  4. Dear Angie, gosh writing this post must have taken you for ever! But what a great review of the last year, I guess it is the best one out there in blogland this year :-). I am completely in awe of the beauty of your garden each month. Your post is proof that a medium sized garden can have it all: Abundant color throughout the year, a great variety of plants, lushness, shelter for the wildlife, great color combinations and the list doesn't end. I will take your post as inspiration and motivation to work hard on my own garden this year to improve it. Maybe I am able to write a review that is worth writing by the end of this year as well, but I am sure it won't be as long as yours ;-)! Happy New Year and happy Gardening! Warm regards,
    Christina

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    1. Christina, I truly did not mean it to turn out quite so long but I had so many pictures to wade through, there was some I just didn't want to miss out. If for nothing else, my own reference.
      It's truly an honour for you to say you will take inspiration and motivation from me - what a lovely thing to say.
      Happy Gardening and Puppy training in 2015 to you :)

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  5. What a lovely review of the year Angie, and what a huge variety of flowers you have. I always love looking at your garden photos because everything is so well organised and planned, you do't seem to have any corners where things are having their own private party! I am so looking forward to the new growing season, and your photos have served to whet my appetite ! Happy New Year to you x

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    1. Jane, of course there are spots that are having their very own private party - they just don't make it into the pictures ;)
      There are one or two area in the garden that I'd be ashamed to show but with work and maturity they will make their blog debut at some point.
      Happy New Year to you and yours too x

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  6. Hi, Angie! I've just nominated you for a Leibster award. I do hope you'll accept! My latest blog should explain it all.

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    1. Thanks - I will get a post together when I find time

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  7. Love last photo of the little wren! A great review of 2014 Angie, I hope 2015 will be as flowery as the pictures of last year. And, haha......my flowers are almost everywhere playing their private party and they are allowed except the nettles and other nasty weeds.

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    1. Thanks Janneke - it took me 3 weeks to get a decent shot of it. Nettles! Well, my neighbour doesn't keep them under control in his garden and they are one battle I am constantly loosing!

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  8. Wonderful review of your garden year. You've got a very rich mix of plants, I especially like your early spring blooms. Crocuses are a favorite of mine but I don't plant them anymore because of the rabbits. I envy your selection of roses, Clematis, and peonies. We too are struggling with the issue of neighbors being able to look down on our back garden from their second story window - that's why I planted a crabapple against the back fence. I'm looking forward to seeing your garden progress in 2015!

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    1. Rabbits! They are around here but thus far not ventured into my garden Jason and long may it stay that way. I've put in 5 trees this year, hopefully they will go a long way to helping.

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  9. A quite stunning review of the year Angie. I have Galanthus 'Jacquenetta' too and it has a flower bud! So exciting waiting for it to open. If the mice get to it first I don't know what I'll do. I'm also looking forward to rose 'The Lark Ascending' which I bought in the autumn having admired it on your blog.
    Can't wait to see what you do this year. I'll be standing by with my notebook!

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    1. I do hope your impending snowdrop buds remain intact Jessica - it would be a bummer if those pesky mice got there first. I know the bother you have with bulbs and wildlife, I'd be tearing my hair out if I were you!
      You will not be disappointed with your rose - it truly is a stunner!

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  10. Angie, your garden is inspiring. You have so many of the plants I've always admired and never been able to grow - even pre-drought, our climate was drier and hotter than yours and the differences are no doubt even greater today. In 2015, I'm committed to do a more careful study of what really grows well here but I can only hope to produce a garden with as many beautiful blooms as yours!

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    1. Like wise Kris. You are doing the right thing in studying what will/should do well - it will save you a lot of time, effort and money in the end.

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    2. Angie, I nominated your wonderful blog for a Liebster award. You can find out more in my latest blog post here: http://krispgarden.blogspot.com/2015/01/liebster-award.html. If you choose to accept, you can answer the questions I posed in a post of your own. Best wishes!

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    3. Kris, I'll pop over and reply on your blog x

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  11. What a super post, a wonderful wander through the year with so many beautiful colourful flowers. Once the snowdrops start, Spring can't be far away!

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    1. Thank you Pauline - we are having a gorgeous sunny day today and it's been difficult not to get carried away and dare dream that spring isn't too far.

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  12. Some lovely flowers and I love the little wren - well done for capturing it. Can I ask what variety the orangish kniphofia is?

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    1. Took me an age to get a decent shot of the Wren Sue - I had thought for a wee while it was a young dunnock at first.
      The Kniphofia is K. Timothy, it's a nice one. If you have trouble sourcing it let me know later in the year as mine should be big enough for splitting in autumn.

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  13. Well done! You have an amazing number of blooms in the garden and have made a beautiful haven for yourself, family, and friends. This post has me yearning for flowers!

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    1. It got me yearning too Marian - looking back seemed like a good idea at the time!

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  14. What a lovely post. Thank you. I did enjoy having a look at the year in the garden. You have so many treasures.

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    1. Such a nice thing to say Chloris, thank you :)

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  15. Hi Angie, what an inspiring post, so lovely and detailed, and you must have worked hard to create such a beautiful and varied garden. I'm in Edinburgh too, so it's really interesting to see what you've achieved and which plants you had success with. I'll look forward to following you throughout 2015 and taking inspiration from your green fingers! Jo

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  16. I'm exhausted just reading about it all Angie! You have so many lovely plants, and some great combinations too. Here's hoping you have at least as good a year again in 2015.

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