Most of 2020 was consumed by Covid 19 but in the garden life continued as normal. It had a steadying influence on me and many other seasoned gardeners. However perhaps the most telling thing to me was the amount of new people who took up gardening as the pandemic spread inexorably around the globe. Think of some of the things that became scarce and hard to find. Plants of all types were at a premium and the baking shelves in the supermarkets were cleaned out of flour. Our gardens bloomed as normal the tulips and spring bulbs giving way to the full blown palette of colours that mid summer brings. Undeterred by the pandemic birds nested and produced their young and right on cue the swallows arrived from Africa their journey perhaps made less challenging by the lack of competition in the skies. Maybe you didn’t take up gardening but for the first time you spent days, weeks with your family seeing them with new eyes and hopefully appreciating them and doing the things you always intended to make time for. As we head into the New Year traditionally a time for looking back over the year just gone , I want to give thanks for every blade of grass, every leaf, every flower and even every weed that kept me occupied and at peace . To have your hands in the soil is to connect with the earth. To plant a seed and see it grow, to watch a perennial send up fresh shoots, to see new buds on dry dead looking branches, to see bulbs send up their glorious display is enough to bring a little hope and solace to everyone.
To quote the lovely Audrey Hepburn. ” To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow” .
Here’s a look back at a few highlights of the gardening year of 2020 in my garden.
There are so many options for colour in the winter months. Although they don’t have the abundance that comes in mid summer they really do cheer you up with their pretty blooms. From the amazingly robust snowdrops paired with winter flowering perennial Cyclamen Coum to the masses of flowers of Hellebores there is always something to bring some colour to the border. The snowy bark of Silver Birch stands out in the winter sun and the bright flowers of witch hazels are such a surprise when you see the luminous flowers on bare branches.
March was the beginning of a whole new world and we tried to get out and walk every day. The Hill of Slane is so peaceful and the views are spectacular. It’s also our view from the front of our house so we are so lucky to enjoy it every day.
By April the garden is really beginning to wake up with tulips of many different colours in bloom. I plant the more perennial ones in the beds and some of these red and yellow Appeldoorn tulips have been planted here for 16 years.
As the tulips fade there’s no shortage of colour in the garden with Alliums showing off and acers of all shapes and sizes erupting with colourful leaves. Of course for me the real stars of the early summer are foxgloves. Seeding about prolifically the cheerful tall spires of flowers are much loved by both human and insect visitors to the garden .
By mid summer everything is in full swing with perennials raising their pretty heads, shrubs in full bloom and hydrangeas starting their annual display of massive blooms in varying shades.
Late summer brings warmer shades with Acers, black eyed susans, rose hips and wonderful dahlias.
Heading into autumn and winter we are tempted to remain indoors as the vibrancy fades but there are still so many interesting colours and shapes in the garden. Planting bulbs is also such an act of belief in Spring and renewal and is always such a pleasurable task in autumn.
Happy New Year to all