It’s been a roller coaster of a year 2012 though on the whole as many ups as downs. It started brilliantly well and sort of coasted in a bit from there.

6 weeks between posts is long even by our standards but December has been busy, mostly thwarted by rain and wind and then of course the freezing frosts entwined with sub-zero temperatures. Plans have been planned and re-planned, cancelled, re-booked and some even met on time!

Snowy Great Ouse River Salix

The herbaceous garden held on in sterling show well  into December and it took some ruthless moments to cut back and tidy up while plants still flowered and flounced about. In the end a worthwhile sacrifice.

For photographers the thought is ‘what’s not to love about dead umbel seed heads and grassy fronds frosticled up and glistening?’ as a gardener by midday the soggy brown mess of after frost is ugly and not to be admired. Sometimes it’s a toss up, this year with the rain and wind it was not. Down it all came ready to be chopped up and composted.

The compost heap suffered this year too, too dry, too wet, too many ants, too much brown, too much green, too little of anything…and on it goes. We’re am fast coming to the conclusion that ‘hot composting‘ is the best route, although next year we’ll be trialing a method passed on from another National Collection holder who likes the idea of the ‘low-to-no work’ gardening. That will be green manure grown,  trampled and covered with a layer of weed control fabric pinned down, leaving the mulch to rot and then planting.  Moving towards the no dig movement is a definitely gaol for 2013.

The media was peppered with Mistletoe stories, learning about it’s history and uses from social to medicinal enlightened one and all. One of our clients is growing some from seed embedded deliberately in a wonderful old Bramley. It’s thriving  but surprisingly slow to start. Growing a plant is a favourite way to get to know it.

New Years Eve and New Years Day are a favourite time to retreat from the world and write todo lists, goals, resolutions, mind-map, doodle, cogitate, re-write and re-write again letting the imagination flow and take form (write it down, write it down, write it down!). This years cogitating will include Monty Don’s ritual (GWM Jan) of laying out seed packets on the dining room table, bed by bed and then make up the lists of when to plant and how much (space is at an optimum).


Here is to 2013 regain some equilibrium lost in 2012 with snowdrops just poking up their leaves it is possible to ignore the flowering Hammamelis and the blooming Lonicera Winter Beauty (both a month early).

Exciting times ahead and we’re looking forward to the new projects of 2013

Wishing one and all a Happy and Prosperous 2013.

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