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Once again it’s been a long time since I posted about the garden, partly due to other posts and wanting to keep things in a semblance of chronological order and partly due to having other commitments.

The year has been one of ups and downs, success and failure, which is pretty much how most years go for most people.

The garden has been changed a bit this year with a new bed put in for flowers, main because it’s shaded by tall sycamores and the grass always struggles there. Obviously this bed will develop in time and the long term plants that I moved there (some grasses and sedums for the time being) will take a bit of time to establish themselves. The sedums were split from two large to four smaller ones and moved from a location where they weren’t very visible to a place where they will provide some winter colour more visible. The grasses were in large pots and had been for a number of years and had grown as much as they were going to and needed more space. These have provided a nice back row for the new bed and I can decide on the foreground in due course. There’s a scattering of bulbs in-between for spring colour so I will be interested to see how them come up.

At the back have also been my fruit and nut trees (cue music for those who are old enough to remember and understand the joke). This year these showed but success and disappointed, on occasion both from the same tree. For the first time I had pears that managed to survive through to a point where they were able to be harvested. I can only say that I hope there will be the chance for that to happen every year now as the pears had a wonderful tastes and while 8 may not seem like a lot, for the small tree that it is, and my family history with pear trees, that is an unqualified success. Also for the first time, my two hazelnuts produced. To be fair, this is on course with their age, so I’m hopeful for more in the coming years. I currently have one of the nuts on the windowsill in the kitchen. Sadly, despite having a handful of nuts start off, this is the sole survivor. The others harvested by squirrels (I suspect) before I was able to. Even my sole survivor was found on the ground, so had probably been dropped in a rushed get away by the thief when I accidently interrupted their scavenging.

Another success was the grapevine, again, in a similar vein to the pear tree, has produced a very good crop for harvesting that haven’t all been poached by the birds. These I still haven’t harvested but will do as soon as I have some daylight hours in good weather. I’ve yet to decide what to do with them, but I’m sure I’ll come up with some ideas. I’m wondering whether it was just a good year or whether the pruning that I did earlier in the year has helped. I will be trying the same tactic again this year and will see how things work out for 2015.

The raspberry canes have again been in full flood. This was considered a very good year for such fruit and I was able to ‘dine out’ on fresh fruit for breakfast for quite a few days in the early autumn. The canes have also been spreading and while I’m not regretting putting them in, my advice to a friend who was thinking of putting some in was to make sure they went into something that was self-contained as much as possible. I will probably need to consider removing one of only two remaining plants in the garden that were then when I first moved in. However that’s something for next year.

My disappointments this year have been in an old staple, that of my pea plants, and a new trial, some aubergines. For the first time I had set up two beds of pea plants as I know both how well they grow and how quickly I used them. Unfortunately one of the beds ended up with a powdery mildew, and despite trying a number of remedies, nothing seemed to work and much of the crop was lost while on holiday. I will try again next year, but this time plant earlier. I think one of the issues was that there may have been infection from other plants, so timing may be important in that respect. If the failure of the peas was a disappointment, the aubergines were even more so. I was amazed at the number of plants that had grown from seed and pleased to see lots of flowers starting off. However, not a single flower got further than that. They all wilted and dropped. As with any good gardener, I will try again next year, and employ a slightly different tactic (more time outside rather than in the greenhouse) and see if that makes a difference. I hope it does as the market bought aubergines that I have been putting in to meals have been very tasty, and if the home-grown plants stay true to form with the others that I have had, then that will be a treat I’ll look forward to.

The last thing that I did in the garden was take some fuchsia cuttings. I was a bit late for these, and to be honest wasn’t expecting any success, however of the 6 taken, one has routed and I’ll keep inside and plant out probably in a couple of years (I suspect it won’t be big enough next year). However I’ll take some more next year (earlier in the year) and hopefully be able to add some fuchsias to the new bed at the back in due course, and if I’m careful, I’ll train them up for some height above the grassed and sedums.

Next year probably see only minor changes, but then I’ve said that before, so what 2015 really brings, I’ll have to wait and see.

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