As Storm Brian rages outside (well OK the edge of it here in rural Buckinghamshire!) I have to admit to retreating indoors as of all the weathers to be outside in, wind is the one that I like the least. I did manage to pick up a few windfall apples from our Bramley tree, which this year have been fabulously large and prolific and tidy up a few bits and pieces but perhaps today is a day to be indoors, and reflect on the growing year.
Somebody asked me the other day on a course I was giving if my garden was spectacular and my answer was it’s a ‘work in progress’. And it truly is. We’ve been here 4 years now and apart from the first year when we let the garden do its thing so that we could see what was there, we’ve made huge changes, putting in a pond, making new beds, and most recently a living willow arch. There’s still more to be done; finishing the paths and steps and edging borders and each year there are new ideas and ‘works in progress’. In fact, I challenge anyone to say that their garden is ‘finished’. For a garden to be ‘finished’ it feels like that there’s no more interest or excitement or creativity left, and perhaps it’s time then to move on…. But for us here, there’s still plenty to do. Thankfully.
So how has this particular year been? Well, the celeriac and parsnips have been the best ever, the raspberries are still going strong – don’t you love autumn raspberries for their ever giving nature! The brassicas on the other hand were a dead loss. We might get a few measly Brussel Sprouts for Christmas dinner but apart from that, nothing to write home about. Lessons learnt? I tried an experiment this year with not netting them, hoping that the birds might do their job and keep the caterpillars to a manageable level, but it was not to be.
In the flower garden, the late summer flowers have been spectacular, with marigolds, echinaceas and nasturtiums romping away in the mild autumn we’ve been having so far. Our ‘rescued rose’ garden has been great in its first year. We dug out several from around the garden from when we first moved in, and have had them moved to different spots, or in pots for 3 years and this year we finally got them to their final destination and they seemed to have settled in really well. It takes a lot to kill a rose, I’ve discovered! But what I’m looking forward to most is whether our frogs that we managed to nurture in our pond will make it through the winter to lay their first frogspawn in the pond, then we’ll know that the pond has been the success we hoped it would be. Watch this space….
So all in all, there have been ups and downs, successes and failures, and through it all a sense of satisfaction of being outside, being active, being in the fresh air, enjoying nature, the plants, planting, insects and birds. A wonderful place to be…