The end and the beginning

Well what can be said that has not already been said other than to say it’s been quite the year! Lockdowns brought garden centre closures, seed and soil shortages and resilient gardeners. Old seed packets were dusted off, old out-of-date seeds were sown and plants germinated and grew bringing a little bit of joy to our hearts. This year has shown us all how important it is to get outside in the fresh air, even when we are outside all alone. Gardening soothes the soul, it is easy to lose an afternoon outside, just tackle that one last job or sit back with a cup of steaming tea and admire the work and the potential. I hope your garden has brought you some joy this year, I hope you’ll remember that calm when our lives return to the normal of before and that you’ll seek it out. I hope you’ll hold a packet of seeds and appreciate all the potential inside. I hope that quiet peace never leaves you and you cherish it wherever the future takes you.

The frosts and snow have really brought this gardening year to a dramatic close. The dahlias held on until almost the end of November and then turned black overnight. I’ve cut mine back but not lifted them yet caught out by the snow. A job to add to my list. I’ve had the fruit trees pruned because I can no longer reach the top and to be honest I take too long, I ponder every cut and examine the overall look after every five cuts. The onions and garlic are in the ground waiting for spring to break through the cold soil. I’ve left most of the perennials in their decaying state because the birds so enjoy the seeds and they can look so pretty on frosty mornings. I am if truth be told a rather messy gardener, my beds are stuffed with plants and overgrown in that very relaxed way that has plants intermingled with each other. Looks pretty but is hell to weed and water.

I’ve just remember that I need to bring in the drip irrigation pipe from the front bed before things get too cold. That will remind me to put the lights on the boxwood hedge which has managed to survive another year without being totally decimated thanks to that pesky caterpillar. How is your box? Bring in your hoses, switch off the outside water, clean off the tools and take stock of your garden. Get those last bulbs into pots and put them outside as they will brighten your days in Spring before we feel the stretch in the day. I like to take pictures throughout the year, it reminds me of the full size of perennials when I’m tempted to squeeze another one in. It helps me see the gaps when the bulbs have gone over and something new has yet to appear. I’ve missed the plant fairs this year, chatting with the growers, learning about new varieties and drooling over them, because I am a sucker for a pretty perennial and I am always tempted to buy a few more.

When the water is off and the tools are back where they should be I try to re-live the successes and the failures of the garden this season as every season is so different. We had a very warm dry spring which encouraged early growth but a hot and often windy summer followed which played havoc with things that were not properly staked or tied up. More mulch for water retention is always on my list as are more stakes to support the heavier flowers like peonies and never stop weeding because they’ll never stop growing.

If your are still on the look out for gardening related gift ideas, today marks the final day for Sunday shopping at Schilliger in Gland, Fleuriot Corraterie in Geneva is also open today as part of the city’s special Sunday openings also on Sunday 20 December. Smaller horticultural retailers although not open on Sundays still have a great selection of seasonal plants for indoors and outdoors such as La Flâniere in Troinex, Nature en scène in Borex and Rémy Jaggi in Trélex. This team at Miss Daisy Fresh Dutch Flowers continue to offer their weekly subscription service for flowers delivered to your door. Consider a live Christmas tree this year and contact EcoSapin, you choose the size and variety, they deliver and collect after the holidays. Although they’ve already sold out of their DIY wreath boxes, the Tallis website has many horticulturally related seasonal decorating ideas. This is the final week to stop by La Noyère in Mont-sur-Rolle to be inspired by their beautiful floral arrangements and Christmas wreaths. L’Heure du Thé in Chéserex will also be open for the final time this Wednesday 16 December from 10:00-18:00 where I will join Marie-Claude with a selection of seeds for the cutting garden, hand made soap for gardeners along with a selection of outdoor pots filled with bulbs to bring joy in Spring. Let me know when you’d like to come so that we can adhere to the sanitary regulations correctly.

If you would like to garden some more consider volunteering at the Iris Gardens at the Château de Vullierens above Morges they are looking for people to complete their team, experience not necessary.

I’d like to close this year by thanking everyone who dropped me a note about their garden, stopped me in the street to tell me about their successes, emailed me with questions about garden problems and joined me on Instagram admiring beautiful gardening images. It’s been a difficult time for so many that sharing gardening news brings us all a little closer. I love hearing your stories and hope to see you again in person before too long. Sending you every good wish for this Christmas season and for all that we hope the new year will bring us.

Stay well, stay healthy and enjoy your garden.


2 thoughts on “The end and the beginning

  1. Thanks so much, Tara, for this lovely reflective end of the gardening year post! I was one of those people amazed at how old seeds would sprout (not all of them, but a good 50% in the best cases.) I sowed and resowed hoping to get some good seedlings, and my biggest pumpkin came from a packet many years out of date! I’ll do it again this year and try my luck!

  2. So nice and reassuring to hear of your messy style of gardening, I will concur that it makes weeding a nightmare, but I so believe in leaving it on the ground for all the goodness it gives back or if not just a mulch. The beauty in the bare trees and dry grasses dripping with dew is something I have learnt to love.

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