That Was the Year That Way – 2015

Another tradition here at the PatientGardener blog is a round up of the year.  It is always interesting to look back and remind yourself of places you have been and things you have seen or it seems, as is the case this year, places you haven’t been.  I was surprised that I really haven’t been out and about as much as I have in the past but then I am reminded that this year has been challenging from a work perspective and I have struggled with exhaustion and uncertainty as well as still working through the grief of losing Dad at the end of 2014.  Saying all that it hasn’t been that bad a year and whilst I haven’t been out and about that much, the places I have been to visit have been exceptional with a number finally crossed on a long term wish list.

Just as we are ending 2015 with a mild winter we started the year with a mild winter with only a scattering of snow over one weekend.  Looking back through photographs it appears that I did a lot of gardening this year and really focussed on looking after my garden better.  I was rewarded in February with flowers on the Melianthus major which is a plant I just adore for so many reasons. I started my garden visiting at the very end of March with the first of a number of visits to Stockton Bury Gardens in Herefordshire.  This is a favourite garden of mine being quite close and always having a good selection on interesting plants. The garden work continued into April and I finally decided on what colour to paint the shed much to every one’s relief.

Then in May the travelling started. The month started with the annual visit to the Malvern Spring Show, always a delight which boost my gardening enthusiasm.  This was closely followed by a trip to Rome with Mum.  It was nice to do a city break although I remain unconvinced that cities are my favourite holiday destinations. June was a real highlight as I finally got to visit Great Dixter and Sissinghurst.  I spent 3 days in the area, attending a study day at Great Dixter (which I might repeat in 2016 depending on other plans).  Then if that wasn’t enough I spent a wonderful week on a garden visiting trip in Dublin and Cork led by Noel Kingsbury.  During the week I got to visit another 3 gardens on my wish list: Helen Dillon’s Garden, Hunting Brook, and June Blake’s garden.

Off the back of this trip I was invited to a gardener’s lunch at Noel and Jo’s garden in Herefordshire. A delightful place, completely different to my garden, planted in a wilder style but full of interest and atmosphere. In September I indulged my growing interest in ferns and attending a British Pteridological Society visit to two local gardens, one owned by the esteemed Veronica Cross and the other owned by a passionate plantsman who rarely opens his garden.  It was a great day in the company of passionate plants people such as Martin Rickards; I learnt a lot.

In October we had the first meeting of the RHS Symphyotrichum trial.  I have been asked to act as recorder for the trial which is being held at the local Old Court Nurseries, rather than RHS Wisley.  Asking me to undertake this task is a bit of a leap of faith for the RHS as I don’t think they have used a non-RHS recorder before.  The trial will last for 3 years.

November was a challenging month at work but I did manage to go to the AGS Annual Conference over a weekend in Stratford which I really enjoyed as I reconnected with friends and may have made plans for a trip to Greece in late 2015. As for December I was lucky to finish work on the 18th and so I have had time to recharge the batteries and tick another couple of hills off my Malvern Hills Challenge.  And just to round the year off properly I hope to visit Kew Gardens on Tuesday with some friends.

What will 2016 bring, who knows.  There will probably be more significant changes at work but I am determined to get the balance between work and home better this year.  I have a trip to North Essex planned in early summer, another short trip to Devon with Mum in the summer when I hope to include a few gardens I have wanted to visit for a while and then the trip to Greece, or possibly Japan (although I’m not sure that trip is going ahead).  Then there will be the usual  trips to the RHS Malvern  and Chelsea Shows.

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9 Comments Add yours

  1. Dee says:

    Happy New Year Helen, almost anyway. I’m always amazed at the traveling you do. It takes us so long to get anywhere that we only take a few trips a year if that. I would love to be where I could focus upon garden travel. Well, at least in May next year, I’ll be in London. Squeee! The kids say that. Haha. Love to you friend. See you soon. ~~Dee

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Dee
      Who knows we may be able to catch up when you are in the UK next year

  2. Yvonne Ryan says:

    Phew!!

  3. rusty duck says:

    I don’t think we realise sometimes just how much we have done until we write it all down. And what an exciting year coming up! Your garden certainly benefitted from the changes you made, I look forward to seeing what happens next!

  4. What a busy year you’ve had. I adore that woodland garden you featured in September – I so miss lush green places here in the Med, green deciduous trees are thin on the ground yet are my favourite.

  5. Brian Skeys says:

    Sounds like a busy year ahead, have a good 2016 Helen.

  6. Pauline says:

    It is always good to look back over the year to remind us just how much we have done in the garden. You have certainly been busy and your garden has benefited. I can always relate to your woodland border, my favourite sort of gardening. You have reminded me that I must buy another Melianthus Major, such a wonderful foliage plant, how fantastic that yours flowered!
    Best wishes for a wonderful gardening year in 2016!

  7. Shirley says:

    Helen, I agree with others – what a busy year you’ve had! I hope you get the home/work balance right this year. Try not to be too hard on yourself (which I suspect you are). Very sorry to hear about your Dad – I miss mine too. Wishing you good health to enjoy your garden visits and trips in 2016 🙂

  8. I envy your garden visits. Sissinghurst is one of my all time favorites. I am sorry about your Dad. Grief is a process, isn’t it? Never easy. I wish you a happy and prosperous new year with many good hours in the garden!

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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