That was the year that was – 2014

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.


11 Comments Add yours

  1. Lovely to read your ‘end of year report’. In some ways there are always good and not so good bits when you look at a whole year. It seems to me that you always get a lot done and you started quite a few new projects which is positive. We all look forward to a new new and a new beginning and I wish you all the best for 2015.

  2. Chris says:

    Doesn’t a year go quickly. When we look back it’s amazing how much happens to us – joyful and sad, little and big. Thanks for your posts. I have enjoyed them very much. Best wishes for a good 2015.

  3. Brian Skeys says:

    Irene and I wish you and your family a happier 2015 Helen.
    I thought your post about Christmas was particularly thought provoking, and have added link to it on my Winter Solstice post.
    Gardening is good for the soul and always give us something to look forward to.

  4. Great round-up of your year, Helen, with excellent pictures. 2013 was challenging for many of us, and we look forward to a happy and healthy 2014. P. x

  5. Chloris says:

    A great round- up. I hope 2015 will bring you, your family and your garden everything that you could wish for.

  6. Anna says:

    How exciting to have a trip to Roma on the horizon Helen! Having something positive to focus on particularly in challenging days is always a beacon. I do hope that the new year treats you, your family and your garden kindly xxx

  7. Janice says:

    Happy New Year Helen. Just came in from shovelling snow, the wind is bitter cold. -16C, -25C with wind chill. Our Christmas was very different this year. We lost my Dad on November 20 (Mum 31/2 years ago). Even though my 4 siblings and I are in our 50s and 60s it feels strange that we are now ‘orphans’. I have enjoyed reading your blog and following along with all the changes this year. Looking forward to seeing what you do next year!

  8. Cathy says:

    Thank you for sharing your review of the year Helen – I wonder whether we would still want to do a review if our year was all on an even keel? I am glad you have been able to look back and see that there were indeed highlights in 2014 amidst the pain of losing your Dad – particularly your adventures with showing plants. Good luck with your aim of achieving that bronze medal and best wishes to you, your boys and your Mum for the coming year.

  9. rusty duck says:

    A great review Helen. I have fond memories of the Malvern Spring Show, we used to go every year. It’s too far now and I miss it. If I were to only go to one show a year it would be that one.

  10. Julieanne says:

    A lovely look at your year in review Helen, many wonderful pictures there. Also many memories, the sad at the loss of your father, but also the happy, from sharing the joy of your son’s graduation to the many prizes for showing. All good wishes to you, your family and the garden in 2015.

  11. Here’s to a healthy and happy 2015. I began the garden year on a frustrating note but everything ended well. Though I am sure part of that is that I’m old enough and have gardened and lived long enough that it is a little easier to make the best of whatever happens. Really enjoyed your roundup after reading your blog for much of the year. You inspired me to post my own roundup.

Please feel free to leave comments as its always lovely to get feedback. I try to respond to comments as much as possible but sometimes life and work get in the way but I will do my best to respond especially if your comment is a question.

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