Friday, 31 December 2010

End of Year 2010

A little look at the year in general via images I particularly like or which I feel best sum up the month.

We start January with deep snow, the deepest I ever remember seeing, as a result very little happened in the garden as snow came back time and again until into February.

A Snowdrop managed to brave the snow and teased me with a glimpse at the months to come

February was another slow month, Spring had been delayed thanks to the cold temperatures in December and January.

I did however discover this lichen growing on our Magnolia Stellata, for most of you I am sure, this isn’t an uncommon sight… I was impressed as I haven’t lived here long and I am less than 2 miles from the centre of a major city.

I bought a Skimmia to brighten up the dull days, and quickly fell in love with just how wonderful its flowers are.

March and the garden was crawling with Iris, almost every single pot I own seemed to be packed with Irises… Not at all a problem for me, because they are stunning.

The first of the Hoverflies was spotted, and this was when I really did come out of my winter torpor and dreamt of Bees, Butterflies and Hoverflies in the garden.

I love the fresh green leaves of Hawthorn, the colour is so vibrant and a real mood lifter.

And March also reminded us that it isn’t only the insects and plants which come to life in Spring.. So do the mammals.
A young Woodmouse is spotted scurrying around the garden… The little baby was completely oblivious to the dangers and me stood very close… I do hope it survived. I fear we probably disturbed a nest as we began work on the ‘new border’ and went into the shed for the first time in months.

April sunlight fooled me into thinking it was summer already as it lit up the below Fuji Cherry.

And for the first time the Dwarf Russian Almond put on the most spectacular show I have ever seen… I hope it is as amazing in 2011.

The new border was finally finished and planted in mid-April, not before discovering the reason for the water logged and poor health of the grass in the lawn… Solid yellow clay, was the cause and we dug out so much that I could’ve charged admission to our own mini Stonehenge.

May saw wonderful, warm and very dry weather as we quickly began to near drought conditions… The Allium show was amazing, after being a little happy with the ordering during Autumn!

June is a little hazy in my memory… Somewhat worrying as June and July are generally the height of summer and the garden is literally buzzing with life.
Now I have thought about it, I realise why the month seems to have disappeared; my Aunt passed away very suddenly with no prior warning. The garden now has quite a few Lavender shrubs planted in her memory.
I bought plenty of amazing Salvia, and if they do not survive this winter I will definitely get more.

White Clover in the lawn was allowed to run riot, and the volume of Bees it attracted was astounding… At any one time I could guarantee at least 20 buzzing around in the clover and numerous species including the discovery of the Blue Mason Bee (top right of the photo)

July was a great success with the new border and it was hard to believe that I had only planted the border in April – you’d be forgiven for thinking it was a mature border of 3+years.

These beautiful ‘Blackcurrant Fizz’ Poppies were a first for the garden. I’ve saved seeds and hope for more next year…

The garden in 2010 had a bumper year for Butterflies as well as Bees and Hoverflies… I feel it’s beginning to mature at last and hope for as much success in years to come.

In August I discovered some new insect visitors… Some Field Grasshoppers! These amazingly, weird creatures had me enthralled and I quickly discovered where they liked to live. I have a large patch of Crocosmia that overhangs the grass and earlier in the year had removed a Rosemary shrub which was getting too large and just left it next to the Crocosmia to remove at a later date. The White Clover was right next to the Rosemary too and I was avoiding mowing the lawn to the left of the garden which allowed the grass to grow into the perfect habitat for Grasshoppers!

A Small Copper visited the garden for the first time and continued to return for a number of weeks. I would love to see more in future, as this is a relatively uncommon species – I’ve never seen one before let alone in my garden!

September arrived and I began to expect the ‘Indian Summer’ we’ve grown accustomed to, and after July and August was rather dire and unusually cold, the warmer temperatures were much needed. Sadly it never arrived and photos were generally taken between rain showers or as soon as the sun even began to put in an appearance.

The month marked the end of one stage of my life and into a new and scary world. I left my job and went back to University to begin my Msc. Thankfully it is only a year, and so far the time has gone far too quickly. Perhaps it was a stupid decision… Especially in the current economic climate, but for my own sanity I had to do something; I once thought I could happily work in a general office job, but it’s become very obvious that I just can’t do it, it’s just too soul destroying for me. I always thought I was the kind of person happy to have a job, rather than a career…

Coreopsis ‘Moonbeam’ looked amazing, such a lovely little flower.

However, we had another wave of Butterflies visiting in September and October… There were often 3 and 4 Commas seen around the Scabious and new border.

October and our first Red Admiral arrived, much later than previously!

The Flat-topped Asters in the new border began to go to seed and provided much interest for my lenses…

Whilst the ‘Lady in Black’ Aster began to flower…

November hit, cold, windy and wet. Many of the plants entered dormancy much earlier than in past years, where I would regularly have Sweet Peas still flowering at the end of November – sadly not this year.
The end of November saw the beginning of the problems with the snow, and the flakes looked beautiful on the Aster skeletons.

The snow continued into December, hitting us with around 18 inches… Leaving us where we started, with heavy snowfall. This time it was definitely the deepest I have ever seen!

After the snow had finally melted we were repeatedly hit with very hard hoar frosts, and killing off any Violas or Cyclamen which had survived the initial snow covering.

I am concerned for the plants, as I think it is likely we will have a good many casualties of the cold weather.
Some areas do have the protection of wood chipping mulch, but I had not yet covered everything – the snow arrived before I was able to finish the job.

Have a very Happy New Year everyone, I hope 2011 is an enjoyable year for all.

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Frosty World

Lots of photos of a frosty world...

I think that’s it from me until after Christmas merriments. I hope you all have a wonderful time and manage to get in some relaxation and peace.