Happy New Year Everyone! Some news from my garden 31 December 2019

Photo: Paperwhite narcissi and pink alstroemeria from my greenhouse today. Gypsophila and honesty seed heads saved from the summer. Eucalyptus foliage and willow heart. Flowers are in a jam jar covered with moss and twine, kokadama-style. Lovely to have home-grown flowers for the New Year.

I love surprises. My grandmother used to say you can never predict what’s going to happen, so don’t worry about tomorrow. Concentrate on today. I’ve pretty much tried to follow her good advice. And just about everything she said has turned out to be true. So, I’ve been writing this blog for three years- not knowing where it would take me. And the biggest surprise is that it’s followed by a growing number of readers. I set out thinking I’d be pleased if just one person read it and was inspired to grow something from seed. Well, I’m amazed and pleased to say the blog was shortlisted this year for the Garden Media Guild Awards. The awards ceremony was quite a glitzy affair at the Savoy in London- not somewhere I ever expected to visit. It was hosted by Nick Bailey, and I sat next to Pippa Greenwood- someone I’ve always admired. Rachel DeThame and Anne Swithinbank were on the next table. Alan Titchmarsh won an award for practical gardener, and Carol Klein was given a lifetime achievement award, presented by Roy Lancaster. Marc Rosenberg won news journalist of the year. Bramblegarden didn’t win the blog category, but just to be a finalist was quite something for me. It took me right out of the potting shed and out of my comfort zone, which is a good thing, now and again, isn’t it.

My second lovely surprise came when the weekly Garden News magazine asked me to write about my garden, and the first of my articles is out this week!

Mum and I have been subscribers for about 20 years. Never in a million years did I think I would be sharing my garden with readers. But that’s what’s happened and they’ve asked me to write and send photos of what I’m growing on a regular basis.

There was a bit of a panic when they asked for photos of the garden. It’s not looking its best in winter, and the rain means I’m very behind with tasks. But I made an immediate decision not to have a frantic tidy up. My garden is what it is. There are too many brambles and stinging nettles, and those will be addressed over the winter. But, apart from that, it will be as it is, a rather messy garden with zones of productivity. I’ve got 10 beds, 1.3m wide by 3m long with little paving slab paths between. This means I never have to stand on the soil. For the past three years the whole garden has been ‘no-dig’ following the principles of Charles Dowding. There’s a 20ft Alton cedar greenhouse I’ve painted black, and alongside, a matching 20ft poly tunnel. The rest of the one acre garden is mostly trees, and low maintenance shade planting. It’s left to the owls, grass snakes and hedgehogs. I’m delighted to share space with them all.

Across the centre of the veg plot there’s a hazel wigwam or A-frame trellis. This has been patched up for the past two years and will be renewed this winter, ready for spring planting.

The hazel frame is perfect for growing sweet peas. The plants just scramble up by themselves. I don’t have much tying in to do. I plant gladioli down the middle of the structure to utilise the space. These grow about 1m tall and usually need staking, but the hazel frame supports them instead.

This is my favourite Wiltshire Ripple variety, which has a fabulous scent.

Here’s how I make my newspaper pots, using a spice jar to form the tube.

I stand the newspaper tubes in terracotta pans. It’s a good task to do when the ground is too wet to work on, which has been the situation here for the past three months.

Albutt Blue. It’s wonderful to be thinking about sweet peas – in the middle of winter.

I wish I could share the scent from all these flowers. Sweet peas are the essence of summer.

What plans have you for growing in 2020? Are you planting old favourites, or trying something new. Get in touch and let me know.

And remember, if you are writing a blog, you never know who might be reading, or what opportunities might come your way. Just enjoy your blogging.

Wishing you all a happy, peaceful and healthy New Year. Happy Gardening!

I am on twitter at https://mobile.twitter.com/kgimson/status/1149241935502225408

On instagram at https://www.instagram.com/karengimson1/?hl=en

Links: Garden News magazine: https://www.greatmagazines.co.uk/garden-news-magazine?gclid=Cj0KCQiAgKzwBRCjARIsABBbFujlf4tfcbFd4OxHcjvuH6NR9Uk54A_wVM0S9IDq_ZeSvA0FtiofT0oaAg9_EALw_wcB

Garden Media Guild: https://www.gardenmediaguild.co.uk/awards

Sweet peas Mr Fothergills https://www.mr-fothergills.co.uk/Flower-Seed/Sweet-Pea-Seed/#.Xgur1YGnyfA

Sweet Peas Easton Walled garden https://www.visiteaston.co.uk/whats-on

Higgledy Garden Seeds https://higgledygarden.com/

Savoy London https://all.accor.com/hotel/A597/index.en.shtml?utm_term=mafm&gclid=Cj0KCQiAgKzwBRCjARIsABBbFujh9QGSEjYNiJ8ON9HjLVkRMH3UNhpD8tpccFO4povH1E6R5zr5qXIaAikZEALw_wcB&utm_campaign=ppc-ach-mafm-goo-uk-en-uk-exa-sear-a&utm_medium=cpc&utm_content=uk-en-GB-V2352&utm_source=google

I like to join in with In a Vase on Monday, although it’s usually a different day : https://ramblinginthegarden.wordpress.com/category/gardens/in-a-vase-on-monday/

And Six on Saturday : https://thepropagatorblog.wordpress.com/

38 thoughts on “Happy New Year Everyone! Some news from my garden 31 December 2019

  1. I am not someone you want to ask about gardening plans for 2020. It is a long story. Anyway, your sweet peas are RAD. They are not happy here in our arid (chaparral) climate, but they are my niece’s favorite flower nonetheless. She grows mostly those with the richest colors, and mixes in ‘April in Paris’ for its distinctive fragrance. It’s not cheating . . . really. (When I grew them a long time ago, I mixed ‘Old Spice’ with ‘White Frills’ (or something like it) because the bright colors (which included a bit more white) made the frilly white even prettier, and added a different fragrance.)
    Anyway, when I started writing my gardening column in 1998, the photographer of the newspapers I wrote for took my picture for the ‘head shot’ out in the back yard of the office on an uncomfortably warm day. The background was shabby giant reed. No one minded because it was supposed to be a temporary ‘head shot’ until we all got updated sketched ‘head shots’. Well, that never happened. That picture stayed with me for almost twenty years before finally being discarded along with my column, just a few months before my twenty year anniversary. For the first decade, I rather disliked it. For the second decade, I appreciated the dark color of my hair, and lack of furrowing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Tony,
      Good to hear about your growing and writing exploits. Made me laugh when you described the headshot. Mine was taken in the autumn with a lot of shadows from a weeping tree I was standing behind! I’ve decided not to dye my hair, it’s such a commitment. I’d rather be gardening. The furrowing is just starting now. I wouldn’t mind stopping that! But that’s life and the wrinkles are from smiling too much. All the best. Karen x

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Karen CONGRATULATIONS for being the finalist of the Garden Media Guild Award! You have earned it for your magnificent blog in which you speak from the heart and always reflect your mood. It is a very special blog because you are close to writing and reach people. Karen again my CONGRATULATIONS for your first article in the Garden News magazine! Write about your wonderful garden, fabulous, I love it. Karen you do very well in not giving up how you have your garden designed and careful to write in a magazine. It may be good and people learn to leave spaces in their garden for wildlife as you do YOU: owls, snakes, hedgehogs, woodpeckers, toads, robins, blackbirds … all are welcome to your garden and you need to Welcome to many other gardens. You have done very well in following the advice of your wise Grandmother. The first photo of the heart of Willow with Pink Daffodils Paperwhite and Alstroemeria and foliage is eucalyptus is a wonderful arrangement, I love it. All the photos are magnificent. I love hazelnut wigwam, it is beautiful how sweet peas climb so divine and how fabulous gladioli stand a meter high. Your newspaper pots are great for planting seeds. Karen I am very proud of you for everything you have achieved with hard work, but I would be just as proud if you had not achieved anything: you are my good friend. Enjoy your successes, you deserve them! Greetings to your dear Mother who will be delighted with the successes of her daughter: give her many memories from me and much love. Karen I wish for your whole family, for your daughters, Mr B. and for you a Happy New Year 2020 full of love, health, strength, happiness, encouragement, happiness and peace. Happy gardening! Also Happy New Year to Grace and Meg with affectionate caresses and love. With all my love, very affectionate greetings from Margarita xxx

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you dear Margarita. Your enthusiasm and lovely summaries of my blog always make me smile. And you are very kind. And wise too. For you understand that we would be friends whatever achievements we make in life. Our friendship is not based on success, but on mutual trust and understanding – and support. Have a wonderful, happy and cheerful 2020. We constantly remind each other of the beauty of nature and the love of our families. Affectionate greetings from us all. Much love Karen xx

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you very much Karen for all your wonderful and love-filled wishes for 2020. I am very happy that we think the same way our friendship is based my dear friend. And that we both love nature and respect it. Karen a lot of love for your whole family, for Mr B and for you. And also for Grace and Meg. Very affectionate greetings from Margarita xxx

        Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Phao. I am constantly surprised by life! Things just seem to pop up very unexpectedly! And I never search these things out. Thank you for your kind words. Happy New Year! Xx


  3. Fabulous! Sounds like you could be quite busy this year.
    Do you have any hazel on your 1 acre plot Karen? I expect you know this already, but they’re great for wildlife and you can coppice them every couple of years to provide new hazel poles for when your wigwam can no longer be patched up.
    Happy New Year!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you. Yes, I have some hazel here, which I’m planning to coppice. I need to plant some more as I use more than it supplies. They rest will come from a farm in the next village which has a very old nuttery with carpets of snowdrops planted underneath. Thanks for reading, and for your kind words. Happy New Year! Xx


  4. What an eventful end of the year it has been for you – congratulations Karen! Such recognition is well- deserved – well done you! And how lovely to have such a fresh-flowered vase at this time of year – I have growth on my alstroemeria but don’t know whether it will develop into a flower spike…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Cathy. Thanks for all your kind words and encouragement. Hoping for a wonderful gardening year for you. I’m spending more time travelling about with Mum. Downsizing on the work for a while. Do hope your alstroemeria flowers. Xx


      • Thanks Karen – was it an easy decision to cut back on the woek commitments? I am sure you will use the time to great effect, visiting all sorts of interesting places with your Mum

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Well done Carol. Now you definitely know you are not talking to yourself. Enjoy your writings and other media that you are involved with during 2020 and go from strength-to-strength.

    Slainte. Happy Hogmanay and wishing you a swell New Year.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you very much! And thanks for all your lovely kind words over the years. Your encouragement has kept me going. Don’t we all talk to ourselves when we are gardening. And blogging is just giving voice to those thoughts. Thanks again. And have a wonderful 2020. Xx


  6. Excellent news all round Karen. Many congratulations! Your hard work is paying off handsomely.

    thanks for the sharing and the inspiration.

    Hope to see you again at Nottingham Hardy Plants and catch up further.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Congratulations on the nomination and the garden magazine article! What a great way to the end the year. 😃 Wishing you and your family (and your garden with all its inhabitants and visitors!) all the best for 2020. Happy New Year!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Cathy. I don’t usually have anything exciting to say! Well, 2019 turned out to be a very unexpected year. Wishing you all the very best for 2020. Happy New Year to you and your family. And thanks for all your support and kind words, which have encouraged me every day. Xx

      Liked by 1 person

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