A member of one of Facebook’s many gardening forums posted a selection of photographs this morning, one for each month of the year – a calendar of sorts. It struck me as a good and interesting exercise, certainly something which would while away some time on a dragging day of constant rain. I had done enough reading and writing by lunchtime and it was a pleasant way to pass the afternoon – as it turned out, the day cleared and we managed to get out for a walk – so I started on the photo-search after lunch and continued before and after dinner this evening.
Choosing photographs may seem simple enough but I am not a great one at making choices, or decisions, and, though I whittled the selection down from an original fifty or so, I still had far more than the required dozen, the standard for any calendar but, hey, it’s my calendar and I’ll have it my way and some months have more than one photograph.
Here we go!
A January view of early snowdrops, Cyclamen coum and hellebores. I look forward especially to the snowdrops each year. They come and give a great display during the darker days and certainly brighten the garden.
February is the main month for snowdrops and this photograph shows how I like to have them in the garden – big plantings of those easy-to-grow varieties which give good impact, good colour. We call this area of the garden, The Lane. When we bought the house from our neighbour be kept this lane to give him access to the fields behind us. Over the years farm machinery grew too big to use the lane and we purchased it from him. It is one of my favourite areas of the garden.
More snowdrops! This area, between two large beds, became our “Bulb Lawn” several years back and we planted it with snowdrops, crocus, daffodils and odds and ends of other bulbs. When some orchids were added the flowering season was extended from February into June so we left the grass uncut and found it was gradually filled with “weeds” – native wildflowers so it is now regarded as a bit of a wild patch – “meadow” would be an exaggeration! We cut the grass in August. A good view to the river.
The front garden – two small lawns, very unimaginatively called “The Square Lawn” and “The Circular Lawn”! The two Betula utilis ‘Jacquemontii’ were among the first trees we planted in the garden. At times we regret ever planting them as they have wide-spreading shallow roots which make the ground around them very dry and difficult to garden.
The Circular Lawn in the front garden. This was originally a sloping lawn but I cut into the slope to make a level area – my younger days when this was all done by hand.
The vegetable garden where we grow a little of this and a little of that – artichokes on the near right, rhubarb behind, asparagus down on the left and a selection of fruit all around on the outer beds – espalier trained apple trees, blackcurrants, raspberries, blackberries, loganberries, plum and pear trees.
Peeping into Mary’s White Garden, a small formal area surrounded by hedges.
The snowdrops and bulbs have gone and the grass has grown tall – we have sown Yellow Rattle to reduce the vigour of the grass so that the wildflowers will do better. The wildflowers are simply those which came of their own devices and can vary year to year.
At the top of the “back garden” – the wall raises this bed to give a little drainage to that side and is a good spot snowdrops. That’s a Cornus ‘Norman Hadden’ on the left in flower and the bright yellow tree is Acer negundo ‘Kelly’s Gold’ – with an Acer griseum in front.
Bottom of the garden – Crataegus crus-galli in full flower, a great tree but has the most vicious thorns. Iris ensata in flower on the left with hosta and primulas to the front of the bed.
The view from where I sit – yew hedges to either side. The veg patch is off to the left; the white garden to the right. A Gingko biloba at the top.
The front garden – the Square Lawn – in evening light
Dahlias to the left; an hydrangea bed to the right – probably the bed which gives best return for work done in the garden – one day in spring to dead-head and prune!
At the top of the garden, two areas which we call The Oval Lawn (wherever did we get that name from – well, the shape of the lawn!) and The Shade Garden.
This is a view I obviously like very much as I noticed today that I have photographs of it at every time of the year. The trees to the left are hornbeams, Carpinus betulifolius, a group of three. As the foliage falls from the trees the river in the background becomes more visible.
Sculpture in the garden! It’s hard to ignore but, thankfully, doesn’t impinge on us.
Iris unguicularis ‘Kilbroney Marble’ setting off this Christmas scene.
Goodness, that was a long year!