This round up of the year is becoming a bit of a tradition and it is nice to spend a quiet hour or so on a winter’s evening between Christmas and the New Year going through photographs of the year.

2014 has been a busy year, full of change – some good, some not so.  We were lucky to escape snow in the winter but it was wet and chilly so I found myself in January going to Birmingham Botanical Garden to have a look around the glasshouses.  I promised myself I would go back to the Gardens later in the year as there was much which looked as though it would be of interest but needless to say it didn’t happen.

February was busy with attendance at the inaugural AGS Snowdrop Conference in Stratford.  I didn’t get to the second snowdrop event due to flooding which crippled parts of the country through January and February.  February also saw my first proper visit to RHS Wisley.  I had only been once before and rushed around at breakneck speed so it was a delight to spend a day leisurely looking around and amazingly although we visited in February it was one of those unexpected warm Spring days that you get from time to time. March my comparison was a quiet month with no trips out but lots of tidying and working in the garden.

April saw me getting involved more with Alpine Garden Society shows.  I helped at my local group’s show on Easter Monday and won the best overall Novice prize which was a thrill and then at the end of the month I helped at the RHS London Alpine Show which was great fun.

May is always a busy month for garden/plant shows and 2014 was no different.  The beginning of the month sees the Malvern Spring Show which is held at a venue only 10 minutes from my home.  This year I was helping stage the AGS Artistic show and ended up being at the showground on each of the four days.  I won the overall Novice prize for the AGS show held on the Saturday of the show and spent a fascinating day helping out Avon Bulbs on their stand in the floral marquee.  A few weeks later I was off to RHS Cheslea Flower Show.  It was a very warm day but it was wonderful to see the gardens and floral displays on press day before it became really crowded.

June was a busy gardening month catching up on tidying the garden after being away from home a lot.  It also saw my youngest finishing a University and a c0uple of trips to Plymouth to retrieve three years worth of belongings.  I also found time to attend an Oldhorts meet up at Waterperry Garden in Oxfordshire which was great fun.

July saw the boys and I travelling to Lake Maggiore in Italy for a family holiday.  We had wonderful weather, saw some stunning sights and I even managed to sneak in a couple of garden visits.  August is never a good month for me.  It is often too warm for gardens to look very good or for me to be able to do much in the garden so I find it quite a frustrating month. A highlight was a visit to Hampton Court Garden in Herefordshire which was looking wonderful. August was a bad month for the family starting with Dad having a heart attack at the beginning of the month and his death at the end of the month.  My real association with August is driving up and down to Coventry hospital in the evening – not a journey I am in a rush to make for a while.

The highlight of September was my youngest’s graduation held in Plymouth. We, including Mum, had a lovely weekend and it proved to be just the antidote to the sadness we had all been struggling with since Dad’s funeral at the start of the month.  The end of October saw a real landmark as I finally got the tree surgeon to seriously reduce the height of the willow tree.  At the same time they removed a 60ft leylandii from Mum and Dad’s garden, a tree Dad had been fighting with the council about for 2 years – it was a bittersweet victory as the news he had won arrived on the day he died so he never knew.

The highlight of November was the Alpine Garden Society conference which was held for two days in Stratford.  I nearly didn’t go as I was feeling low but it was just the tonic I needed and recharged my horticultural juices and got my head planning for the coming year.  One of my resolutions/aims for 2015 is to show more plants with the aim to try to get my bronze medal (I need a total of 10 firsts to do this – I have 4 so far).

December is December – always full of Christmas and preparations.  Work is always very busy and as my boss is standing down from a significant part of his role as of Christmas there is much uncertainty and stress in my working life at the moment.  Christmas itself was a good day, despite the absence of Dad.  He was very much in our thoughts, as he is most days.

So 2014 started very positively but sadly turned into a less than good year.   However, I have already made plans for next year including Mum and I popping over to Rome for a bit of sightseeing so there is much to look forward to and I always think this is the best way to deal with life when it gets a little challenging.