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December 2012

My Plantpassion year in review

It's the last day of the year, - The rain is falling (again) and the boys are doing their own things (fishing and watching Horrible Histories!) so i've been tidying my desk and reviewing what i've been up to this year.

It hasn't seemed like a hugely busy year in 2012 (although the figure say i've been bucking the recessional trend)- I've managed to do plenty of Mum things as well as running a business, but looking back over the year, i've covered a lot of ground.

Bergenia in snow
I've talked to 14 groups in 2012, Wi's, Gardening Societies and the National Vegetable Society. My most requested talk, was Designing for colour in the garden all year round. Followed by - Herbs for the kitchen from your garden, and Gardening for wildlife.

I was warmly welcomed by all, and it was wonderful to see the interest in my topics, even if i've yet to find a group that have gardeners that know what their soil pH is!

Blue Iris-1
I did 7 consultations for clients this year. Walking them round their gardens, telling them about the plants health and positioning, plus giving them design advice and suggestions of plants and products that will save them time and money. - This is fewer than in previous years, but as I did 9 Planting projects, some of them with 2 or 3 borders, it balanced itself out.

You can see some of the projects that I did, like Mediterranean borders, or a Garden next to a main road, or a Raised bed border on the border planting catergory of the blog, - and i'll be going back to them next year to get more photos to update you. I also got a Christmas card saying that I should go and look at a landscaping projects that's been completed for a design that I did, - something for the new year when it's drier.

I also did lots of maintenance with the help of Helen and Paula, of projects that we've completed over the last few years. - Going back to them on a regular or even occasional basis is great to see how they are growing into their spaces. Keeping weeds under control and propagting plants to fully fill borders is something that is very rewarding, but pretty hard work, - so i'm grateful of the company while I weed.

As well as weeding for clients this year, i've had an allotment to keep under control. - I'm guessing that 2012 has been a pretty steep learning curve for lots of gardeners weather wise, - but after the comparitive ease of growing in raised beds in my back garden, we've had to contend with mice, slugs, rabbits, deer, slugs, blight, flood, parakeets and slugs (did I mention them?) at our plot, so we were pretty pleased to get any harvests. and I have to admit that it wasn't a solo effort, I got lots of help from my boys. (yes in all weathers, aren't they great!)

Allotment boys-1
So 2012 has been a really good year for me. I spent 2 weeks cheering and crying at the Olympics, I've eaten fresh food from my garden and allotment every week this year (it got a bit close in early June, - but herbs and salads covered the gap!). I've had great support for my business from my family, friends and clients, (thanks all) and i've built a network of fantastic local and social media business friends that help when I come up with interesting, mad and new ideas for next year, - and i'll tell you more about that in 2013.

Happy New Year to you.

Cutflowers cornflower (1 of 1)


Winter harvests

I hope you had a great Christmas. I had a week in the Sun arriving back on Christmas eve, so my Festive meal had to be organised in advance. We had a neighbour collect the Turkey (thanks Michelle), Ocado left the groceries in the greenhouse ready for our return, and we went for a walk on Christmas morning to collect the brussel sprouts which we'd been growing on the allotment.

Brussel sprouts for christmas-2

We had to paddle through floods to get to our plot, but the brussel sprouts had survived our week away. The netting had kept off our larger invaders, and the slugs hadn't managed to spoil the tender centres of our great crop. - Even better we've got 3 plants left to harvest next week.


Our starter was accompanied by a lovely tray of salads picked from the greenhouse.

Christmas salad tray-2
Clockwise from the top - Coriander, Mibuna, Mizuna, Red mustard, Purple frills mustard, and winter density lettuce leaves. plus a bit of chervil (note to self, - plant in August not September next year!)

it's a tradition that I always have a tray of salad leaves home grown on Christmas day, (you can see my 2010 selection here)- For the last couple of years i've not bought any supermarket salad at all, - and this year i've even managed coriander to harvest all season long. A lot of mine is grown in pots in the greenhouse, but today I did a session at Grace and Flavour (our community garden) and I picked a large trug of outside grown salad leaves. Purslane, Chervil, (see they planted theirs early enough!) Mizuna, Mibuna and Mustard, were all growing happily and needing to be cropped even though we've had huge amounts of rain and frosty conditions in the last few weeks.

At a time of year when fresh vegetable are sometimes not quite as "fresh" as you'd like them to be, - home grown salad leaves are a present that all gardeners need to treat themselves to.