So I decided to take some time away from my laptop over Christmas and concentrate on my immediate world – from my husband, my son, our house to those around me and just enjoy Christmas.
It was also a time to refocus a bit on myself and my life and what direction I want to go.
So, I need to think about how I challenge myself in 2018 and going forward, how I get the most out of blogging and sharing the things I love with others. Determined to get more from the things I’m passionate about such as cooking, gardening, photography and how I add to that by learning a new skill this year.
With that in mind I’m hoping to share more this year around my gardening antics, push myself to spend more time with my camera, more time in the kitchen cooking fresh, proper food, and then on top of this I’m learning to draw and paint. This is something I’ve always wanted to do but never since leaving school never pursued. So I am pushing myself to follow the daily painting movement and spend up to an hour every day this year sketching or painting. We’re currently 21 days in to the new year and I have so far produced 20 images which I’m sharing on Instagram in the hope of getting tips and advice, as well as using this to show my journey from rank novice to hopefully a fully fledged artist at some point. At the very least I’m hoping by documenting my journey I will see some improvement and eventually find a style that feels comfortable for me.
For now though, lets start with the Garden and where we’re at right now and what’s in store for 2018.
The garden was snow covered for a few days here and there in December so I did have to spend some time going round and shaking the snow off of the plants it was beginning to weigh down. Once all thawed out it was clear to see that there was little damage done, just the rosemary bush had snapped under the weight, but as it’s an old but healthy plant, it’s not done too much to it.
Everything else in the garden has held up well. The plants I was most worried about losing in the cold are looking nice and healthy and have so far survived the frosts and cold.
We’ve had two big storms hit us with winds up to about 80mph within the last couple of weeks. Again, the plants held up well but the structures that came under attack. One trellis and support post ripped apart, one wind-break now at a slightly steeper angle than it was before, and a bit of emergency repair work and extra bracing needed to the sagging shed roof. We also noticed a big gap in one of the fence panels yesterday. Nothing that some new nails and a hammer won’t fix however. The top of the garden got blown around a bit and is looking very sorry for itself so that will all need cutting back and tidying up. It’s all still standing, but it’s all in need of some fixing up and being made secure.
So as the days beging to get longer I find myself beginning to think about the gardening year ahead again and what we might do this year.
As I walked around the garden yesterday in the sunshine it was lovely to see so many plants budding, the acers, the weeping birch, the hazels and the willows all with new buds ready to come to life, the magnolias we planted last year are covered in buds and from the ground the shoots from the muscari, tete a tete’s, snow drops and bluebells in the woodland garden and then the alium bed full of green shoots where we planted the 100+ bulbs at the back end of 2017 and as an added bonus the tulips from last year are shooting again.
Seeing the garden come back to life fills me with happiness. There are even flowers on one of the Hellebores.
So, what are the plans this year?
Well, three of the main plans for garden are:
- Get rid of the paving slab pathway in the first garden and replace it with a lined slate-chippings path to meet the one in the second part of the garden. I’ve started putting the mini border in that will edge this.
- Purchase and assemble a poly-tunnel. I have been debating for a while removing the shed and digging out the whole area and putting in one huge polytunnel, however as our garden tends to be a bit of a wind tunnel I’m not not sure this is the wisest move to make. So I’m now debating keeping the shed where it is and putting a smaller poly tunnel alongside it. This is in the hope that they will help shelter each other a little bit. I’m going to plant some tall, solid, shrubs in front of them to act as a bit of a wind break in the hope this might also offer some protection. I also don’t need a massive polytunnel.
- Get rid of the old compost area and build it up to meet the pond, move the rockery down to surround the pond and then turn the old rockery area in more of a wild flower meadow area. This is because it sits next to the hedgerow at the back of our garden which all of the birds nest in, so it makes sense to me to turn that whole area in to one which is more bird and wildlife friendly than the rockery is.
I’m also planning on planting some bare-root hedgerow plants at the top of the garden, for three reasons: to act as a windbreak for the fence panels, to attract more wildlife to the woodland area and to act as a deterrent for anyone trying to climb over the back fence. Not that they do, but it would be easy to do so if anyone wanted.
I’m happy with all of my shrubs and plants that are currently in the garden, so the next decision for me is deciding what seeds to plant so that I can fill the rest of the garden with colourful annuals. I’ll have my sunflower and wildflower bed again this year as that bought me so much joy last year, but I want to make sure I’ve got a good selection of other favourites in the garden too.
So there you have it, the gardening plan for 2018. It’s not the biggest year but I think we’ve got most of the really heavy work out of the way in the past couple of years, I’m looking forward to the challenges and really making the most of the garden now. Here’s to a year of colour, beauty and wildlife – what more can anyone want?
If you want to follow my learning to draw & paint escapades you can find me on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/themanwhocouldntdraw/