Many gardeners are producing year end reviews and this one is by Joanna on her Edinburgh Garden Diary Blog. In this case it is an old house with a front garden that has been completely redesigned. Concrete paving slabs and shrubs all removed and the ground cleared for a new start. Joanna moved to Edinburgh from London eighteen months ago so this is the end of the first full year in her garden.
Strange, unkind weather typified 2015. Winter went on and on till June, and was followed by a cool, wet summer, then an autumn mild enough to bring out the primroses. Finally winter returned, dominated by relentless rain and storms. Waiting for a clement day was futile: I learned to don four layers of clothing and get on with it. I had a mission: to quickly develop the awful front garden of our new flat into something beautiful. I worked on the garden every weekend through all types and kinds of weather. I found something soothing in gardening in the toasty warmth of my thermals with the melting snow dripping from my hood. The quiet, the loneliness, the feeling of being tough. Proper gardening happens in winter, it seemed.
My hard work paid off. By late spring, the ugly front garden of our new flat on its quiet, tree-lined street of south Edinburgh had shed its concrete paving slabs and dwarf rhododendrons and become this:
The privilege and opportunity of having a garden you can start from scratch is one that many gardeners can only dream of. In my naivety and inexperience I muddled through as best as I could, adoring every minute and getting plenty of things wrong. The wonder of a garden is that everything can be edited or at worst dug out and begun again. A straggly mistake of daisies was evicted, as was the compost heap behind the shed. Never again will I attempt to grow bearded irises in damp shade, and my ?Black Paeony? poppies, beautiful though they were, lasted about 12 minutes in the wind tunnel of our garden and were not, looking back, worth the trouble of sowing.
I got plenty of things right first time too. That bench was one of them and I?m so delighted that I placed it there, in the sun, where I could take a seat and observe my horticultural creations while drinking a cup of hot black coffee. In 2016, an important gardening project of mine will be to greatly improve the vista from this bench, which unfortunately currently includes the shed and a rusty incinerator. Another wonderful addition to the garden was my cold frame, which allowed me to experiment with a much wider range of seedlings and cuttings, as well as protect my less hardy plants from frosts.