So this is Christmas…

This has been a challenging year for me! I started this blog back in February while off work with stress and it’s been a bit of a roller-coaster ever since! There have been some highs (including a trip to the States to see family and, thankfully, a much better end to my year at work) and some lows but my garden has been one of the constants throughout.

In fact, one of the most significant things about the garden this year is that I’ve reached the point where I feel comfortable describing it as that! My current outside space is really a yard, about 2x3m plus a path about a metre wide running down the side of the house. I’ve lived here for almost two and a half years now, arriving at the very end of August 2016. The space was a mess of weeds, old gravel and a membrane that really wasn’t doing its job any more. The summer of 2017 was about making the best of a bad job – re-discovering containers that my mum had been plant-sitting for a few years, plus having a crack at a few new bits and pieces – and the only place I could really sit and relax was immediately outside the back door, a bit of a sun-trap first thing in the morning.

But I decided early on that this would be the year that I really started to nail the space so during one of the May bank holiday weekends – it seems a long time ago now – a couple of friends came round and helped me clear the old gravel and membrane and put down replacements. That was the point at which the space really began to reveal its potential.

Over the course of the year I spent a huge amount of time out there, often reading for hours. I grew a HUGE amount of tomatoes (ironic, given that they’re not one of my favourite vegetables!), a good crop of strawberries, one courgette and a really poor crop of potatoes (yes, I didn’t water enough. But then, who did last summer…?).

I bought a galvanised metal raised bed which I filled with perennials (free from Gardeners’ World), aquilegia and coleus raised from seed. It wasn’t entirely successful, but it was a good effort! And I filled lots of pots with cheap as chips plants from supermarkets.

Of course, all of that’s behind us now, but I did have one last garden centre hurrah earlier this week, treating myself to a new pot and some winter plants for the space outside my back door, the same spot that gave me so much pleasure two summers ago.

I’m looking forward to seeing what fun gardening adventures 2019 will bring…!

The container: terracotta pot, conifer (Picea glauca Conica), euphorbia amygdaloides Purpurea, hellebore Niger, cyclamen Miracle, 2 x gaultheria, 2 x cineraria, skimmia japonica Red Dwarf, ivy. All from Palmer’s Garden Centre in Leicester, based on a container idea in the December 2018 issue of Gardeners’ World magazine.

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