Our successes and lessons learnt
So, how did our English country garden progress in 2022?
I must say that some of our projects were successful; some still need attention, and others could have been done better.
But hey, you can’t win them all.
After completing our mid-year review, the garden was undoubtedly looking more colourful, if not a bit scorched in places. Here in the UK, we experienced one of our hottest summers on record, and the sizzling weather seemed to go on for weeks.
The heat restricted us somewhat as the ground was baked hard, and at times it was too hot to work in. Needless to say, it was pleasant pottering around in the evening.
Our cottage garden borderIt’s all about the long game
We have planted several new plants in this border throughout the year. As they are currently dormant, I don’t want to go gung-ho and remove the geranium with a fork or shovel, so I think this will be a job on my hands and knees.
I’m not looking forward to this.
However, in general, I think we certainly made progress; only time will tell next spring and summer.
Sowing and cuttingsIt’s so rewarding
We’ve certainly had a few successes with sowing seeds, although my main problem is growing too many.
For example, with my chillies and tomato plants, instead of sowing a couple of seeds of each, I end up growing four or five, and then I don’t want to lose them. Which is all well and good, but you need to ensure you use them all.
This year was the first time I grew flowers from seeds other than Sweet Pea & Morning Glory; I have usually only sown vegetables in the past.
But for 2022, I grew quite a few flowers from seed, and by and large, they were all pretty successful. One plant I was surprised with was Dahlia. I must admit I thought you could only grow Dahlia from a tuber; how wrong was I.
My Dahlias were amazing; they flowered for weeks; I will definitely be growing more next year.
Another win I had this year was taking softwood cuttings from my Salvia ‘Hot Lips’ and Spiraea ‘Bridal Wreath’. I took five soft cuttings from each, and incredibly all five Salvia grew and started flowering in their new pots and four of the Spiraea.
I was so pleased; it’s like having free plants, and who doesn’t like that?
I think next year I’m going to purchase a couple more Salvia or grow them from seed, as they add so much delicate colour late into the season. It’s early December, and my ‘Hot Lips’ still has flowers on it.
Our garden gear purchasesEveryone loves a gadget
Oh yes, we purchased a couple of new electrical items for the garden this year. One is a new lawnmower, as our old Flymo finally gave up, and the other is a Ryobi rechargeable hedge trimmer.
The new lawnmower we purchased is a rotary model; it’s the Flymo EasiStore 340R, which I like as it stores away very simply; I just wish the blade cut lower to the ground. I shopped around for the best deal, and Amazon and Homebase had the best offers.
Now sticking with the lawn theme, our grass has become a bit of a challenge this year, and I think for 2023, we’re going to have to take serious action. Since the summer drought, our grass has dried out, and the weeds have come in abundance and spread further. The weeds and moss really have taken over, especially in the later part of the year.
Now, onto the Ryobi cordless hedge trimmer. This was a great purchase as the hedge trimmer makes very light work of tasks that would have normally taken ages if it were done by hand.
In no time at all, the shrubs were tamed, and it was job done.
We also purchased the Ryobi hedge trimmer's extension arm; some of our garden's shrubs are quite tall, so the extension arm was an ideal addition. The battery pack is also interchangeable, so you can buy other tools in the Ryobi range that will fit with the battery.
The courtyard patio and secret gardenA splash of colour
Another big win for us this year was our courtyard patio. I planted so many pots we had a fountain of colour for months. The plants ranged from rejuvenated fuchsias and grasses to beautiful new bedding plants and dahlias.
Although one climbing plant that truly impressed me was Thunbergia or Black-eyed Susan. This delicate vine was incredible; it vigorously grew all over our obelisk and continued to flower for months.
I bought three Thunbergia for £1.99 each, which I thought was good value, but I think for 2023, I'm going to look for some seeds.
Spring flowering bulbsAre 400 too many?
So, after some deliberation on the variety of plants I wanted, I purchased our bulbs from J. Parker’s. We’ve used them before, and they have a vast selection of bulbs and tubers and are also reliable. An added bonus is that I got a discount as a Gardeners World magazine subscriber.
I ordered just over 400 bulbs in the end, which I’m hoping should look fantastic if they all grow. My only concern is that I may have planted some of the bulbs too deep within my patio pots, but only time will tell.
Having said that, I do also have a concern that as we have had a mild autumn a few of the bulbs have started to sprout already. Fingers crossed, they lay dormant for a couple of months and re-appear in spring.
The flowers that I chose were snowdrops, dwarf iris, crocus, narcissus, hyacinth and tulips.
I’m really looking forward to spring now.
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