I’m not a particularly reflective person. I have learned the value of looking back in order to come to terms with hard things, and to use that to develop better skills for future challenges, but I’m not one for dwelling on the past. If anything, I tend to focus on the future, sometimes to the detriment of living in the “now”. The exception, of course, is gardening. There is an annual cycle of looking back over the gardening year to assess what has worked and what hasn’t. Celebrating successes, coming to terms with failures, taking a long, hard look at certain areas in order to plan for the coming year. A looking back in order to move forward. The sorting through seed packets, thinking about what worked and what didn’t, in the case of edibles what tasted good to us and not so good to pests, is a key part of winter for me. I’ll be doing my seed sorting and list writing for the kitchen garden in a week or two, an annual ritual far more meaningful to me than any New Year resolutions. I’ve given up on them altogether!


This year there is an additional edge to the looking back, and an extra challenge to the moving forward. Normally when I disappear from the blogging world for a while you can rightly assume that I am mired in illness again. My disappearance at the back end of this year has been for an altogether more positive reason. TNG and I are inching our way forward towards the goal of becoming self sufficient again. Years of being on benefits, enforced by ill health, does terrible things to ones view of oneself. It is a constant battle against the idea that you are useless, irrelevant, and inevitably old professional skills and the confidence that comes with them get eroded over time and lack of use.

The idea that we could set up a small business that would offer us a sustainable life – we are neither of us capable of anything approaching full time work – has been a pipe dream, but gradually, over the past few months, we have begun to dare to believe. So I have been using all my available energy to focus on the “what” and the “how”. Gardening and blogging have both taken a back seat, a seat that has become rather dusty! After a break for a lovely Christmas involving windy walks on wild beaches (the above is the headland to the north of Cemlyn Bay) and roasting chestnuts on a bonfire on the local beach on Christmas Day (pure magic), I am starting to tackle the challenge of how do I balance the new work focus with gardening. Not just because I would hate to see the garden fall into a weedy wasteland, but because gardening has become essential to my mental and physical well-being. It is part of how I manage bouts of depression, get fresh air, connect with the world, express creativity. Oh goodness, trying to put in to words what gardening has come to mean to me brings home how impossible that is! Suffice to say, I have been looking at my garden, at the way I garden, with new eyes.

The coming year will mean less time and money to spend on gardening, so I am hugely grateful that I managed to do so much structural planting in the back garden in particular this year. It is basically in good shape, and apart from re-working the herb bed to accommodate the Air Source Heat Pump, and work out how to grow veg when I have less time to devote to it, I am optimistic. The big challenge will be the front garden, so I will be concentrating on that again next year. For now , though, here are some reflections on the back garden, which will hopefully provide refuge and sustenance rather than overwhelming me with work!

The Park border in winter

It is a dull, wet end to the year here on Anglesey, but despite this the Park border is making me smile. yes, the grass needs cutting (hah!) and I never did get around to painting the trellis, but the tamed Griselinia is no longer as overwhelming, there is plenty of winter interest, and more importantly, winter colour. I love it.

Admittedly, it wasn’t the worst area in the garden when I started focusing on it at the end of January last year, but to have a space that, even on a wet and dreary day, has colour to make me smile and enough structure to give plenty of interest, that makes me very happy.

miscanthus 'Undine' and erysium 'Winter Orchid'

Two of my favourite additions this year were the Miscanthus sinensis ‘Undine’ with its blond featherheads and the perpetually flowering perennial wallflower Erysium ‘Winter Orchid’. I am excited about the persicaria you can just see nestled in between them, and the knowledge that next Autumn I should have good show of Helenium ‘Sahin’s Early Flowerer’, but I also have those honesty plants to look forward to, and the various geums and geraniums. I’m hoping that my tendency to plant everything too close together will mean fewer weeds, though I know I will be battling borage. A lot.

nandina domestica ‘Terracotta’ with Edgeworthia and Scorpion vetch in foreground

In the middle of the border the new plum tree has a very pleasing shape, I can’t really expect plums this coming summer, but it does look healthy. The yellow flowers of the scorpion vetch are gently scented too, and I like the fact that they are pale yellow. I don’t enjoy strident colour at this time of year. In between the sprawl of the Scorpion Vetch and the beautiful Nandina domestica ‘Terracotta’ you can just see the bare branches of the Edheworthia chrysantha. I’m getting a little obsessed about the Edgeworthia. Back in October I noticed what looked like flower buds. For those of you who have not been sucked in to the Edgeworthia growing world, the great attraction of this plant (apart from the fabulous foliage) is the fragrant yellow flowers in winter that come from improbably silky tassled buds.

edgeworthia bud

Does this mean I might get some flowers this year? I’m finding them hard to photograph in their current state, not least because it has been rather windy, but I stare at this plant rather obsessively. Could this be the year?!

the back fence

Looking straight out across the garden from the study, I am so very glad I painted the back fence, even though it is already taking on a layer of green in all the damp weather. Now that the raspberry stems are bare the fence provides a good full stop to the garden, and sets off the fatsia with its strange winter flowers. It also works really well with the plant supports in the veg beds. Those were tremendously successful, though one or two need to be better anchored to the raised beds. They have provided excellent support for the peas and beans, and I like their winter silhouette too. Not exactly Chelsea style, but honest and interesting.

winter raspberries

Incidentally, if you are thinking about planting Autumn fruiting raspberries at all, I can thoroughly recommend ‘Polka’. They have fruited almost relentlessly from mid July, peaking in September, with huge, juicy fruit, utterly delicious. Well, when not frozen on the stem in late December! Christmas Day raspberries anybody?!

hellebore buds

The back border looks pretty much the same as it did in the October EOMV post, albeit without the flowers. Or any leaves on the persicarias and hydrangeas. Attention is now on the hellebore buds, I am hoping for good things here, though the newer plants are unlikely to flower until next winter.

winter beech

I am thankful for the distraction of the copper beech tree in the back corner by the oil tank, the winter sun turns it into a magical sculpture, and I know that it is likely to be months before we have the time to get rid of the old oil tank, let alone choose and build a new shed for the empty concrete slab it will leave behind. A problem for the future, one of many, no doubt!

Verbena bonariensis silhouetted against Air Source Heat Pump

The Air Source Heat Pump has kept us warm and cosy, though learning how to adjust the heat curve has been interesting. I find it painfully ironic that we moved away from oil at a time when it is cheaper than it has been for years. Still, the oil tank never turned seed heads into art, and I can forgive it for forcing me to re-organise the herb bed next Spring for providing such a lovely warm house to recover from Christmas Day beach bonfires and winter cliff walks that make your ears hurt!

All in all, 2014 was a wonderful gardening year for me, one in which I managed to plant lots of new and exciting plants, discovered that I actually rather like Chrysanthemums, met and laughed with more fellow bloggers. All of it has been enhanced by getting to share it with all of you, my thanks to all who read this blog, particularly to all who comment, you provide support, encouragement, challenge, education and laughter. I wish you all a wonderful 2015, and leave you with my Christmas image. A reminder that, before sending e-cards, its as well to check that birds haven’t decorated your lovely red winter berries with their unwanted gifts…

nandina domestica ‘Terracotta’

81 thoughts on “Looking back to move forward

  1. What a great post and what a lovely year, and how wonderful to hear you sounding so positive! We must meet up in the new year, as I have some garlic chives I need to give you (well, they’re great in a tomato sandwich even if they’re not exactly contributing in a big way to self-sufficiency)…

    Happy new year / blwyddyn newydd dda!

    1. Hi Kate, thank you, its rather lovely to be feeling so positive! And yes, we absolutely must meet up, drop me an email and suggest a day, there is always room for garlic chives, and hey, sales are always interesting…

      Blwyddyn Newydd Dda i ti heyfd!!

  2. Hi Janet,

    Glad to hear you sounding positive; good luck with your new ventures in 2015.

    Looking forward to seeing more from your garden next year too :)

    1. Thank you Liz, here’s hoping that there are good things ahead for you in 2015 too, preferably including a lovely new garden to play in!!

  3. you have achieved a lot in the last year Janet, you have achieved a lot since you moved to Anglesey, your garden is looking very good, it looks like the bones are in so it shouldn’t be so hard from now on, good luck with your new projects in 2015 and happy new year, Frances

    1. Happy New year Frances, and thank you, I am happy with most of the skeleton, so hopefully my new distractions won’t leave the garden in too much disarray! I hope 2015 is a good year for you, and for your garden. I am always so impressed at what you achieve against the odds of all that weather.

  4. It all sounds very exciting Janet and I wish you both all the very best in 2015. As ever, I am busy writing notes.. fabulous colour in the garden for this time of year. I have an Erysimum ‘Bowles Mauve’ that is flowering in a half hearted sort of way but nothing like yours!

    1. Thank you Jessica – I too have ‘Bowle’s Mauve’, it is indeed rather half hearted next to ‘Winter Orchid’, though I do love it. One of the best things about following blogs is the discovery of new plants, so I am happy to think I am repaying the favour! Happy 2015.

  5. A post full of interest and optimism, and as always an enjoyable read. I especially like
    the last paragraph, which has me nodding in agreement.
    Happy new year, and let’s hope that we all have a good growing season next year. xx

    1. Thank you Flighty, yes, the birds can be rather good at leaving unexpected greetings, can’t they! I hope your flowers and veges give you enormous delight and many tasty meals in 2015. I look forward to reading about it all. I just hope all the mild weather doesn’t mean another bumper crop of slugs…

    1. Thank you Sue, I am glad to have had the luxury of time to spend on gardening, it could become something of a rarity in the coming months! Happy 2015.

    1. Hi guys, Happy New Year to you two too!! Hopefully a less disruptive year now that you have all that building work behind you. Look forward to seeing what you get up to next…

  6. Dear Janet, I always enjoy reading your post, they are so well written with often a nice humorous touch. To me it is jaw dropping what you have achieved in your garden in the last year. Good luck with your new business, I hope it leaves you enough time for gardening and other things that are nourishing to you. Wishing you a happy, healthy and peaceful New Year 2015! Warm regards,

    1. What a lovely comment Christina, thank you! I think the biggest challenge in the coming year will be finding and maintaining some sort of balance between work and the rest of life. I want to carry on developing the garden, albeit it at a slower pace, and there is sailing and kayaking to enjoy. I am lucky in that I really enjoy the website building that will form the heart of the new business too, but it doesn’t feed my soul in quite the same way – though hopefully it will feed my gardening budget!! Have a fabulous 2015, I look forward to watching your beautiful garden carrying on developing.

  7. An open and honest post Janet – I enjoyed it very much.
    Your garden has come a long way since I started following you and your effort is really beginning to show. You are ever so thoughtful about placing your plants. A lesson I should well learn.
    I wish you and your OH all the very best for 2015, which ever route you decide to take, I wish it a successful one!

    1. Hi Angie, I’m glad you enjoyed the post. On thoughtful placement of plants – it almost always leads to equally thoughtful subsequent moving of plants! Sometimes by mere inches!

      Have a wonderful 2015, in and out of your garden.

  8. I love the effect of those soft colours from the Erysium and the scorpion vetch! And am ever so slightly envious of the raspberries – I don’t think I’ll be able to grow those here in the desert, but they’re wonderful by the look of them… Wishing both of you health and success with your plans – both business and garden! Happy New Year!

    1. Thank you Amy, me too! I think you may be right about desert raspberries, but there again, you can grow so many wonderful plants that I would struggle with. Have a wonderful 2015.

  9. The colour from the scorpian vetch and the Erysium are great. I’ve not heard of that vetch before. The verbena bonarienses against the tank is pure art. When looking back at your garden in January 2014, you can see how far it has come. That’s a lot of work, let alone when you haven’t always been that well. You should be very pleased with the garden and I hope we get to see more of it when you have time, in 2015.

    Everything about the benefits system seems to be designed to make ones life worse, and make it harder to get well and get back into work. So it’s wonderful that despite this, you feel well enough to not only get back to being self-sufficenit, but also to start up your own business. Congratulations! Will you be blogging about the new venture, again when you have time?

    It’s becoming almost trite to talk about how therapeutic gardening can be these days, but it is. It connects you with the seasons and the natural world, it focuses your mind elsewhere (in my case weeding is an almost zen-like activity) and the smallest things, like a primrose flowering in your garden, lifts your spirits like nothing else can. Like you, I’ve found gardening to be an essential part of my make up; it isn’t easy to put it into words but i suspect a lot of people reading your blog will understand just what you mean :)

    Best wishes for your new business. I look forward to hearing about it and how your garden & you continue to grow in 2015.

    1. Hi Julieanne, the Scorpion vetch is one of those plants I discovered through somebody’s blog, its full name is really hard to remember (Coronilla valentina subsp. glauca ‘Citrina’) but it is a wonderful plant. As for the new business, I’m not sure about blogging about it, probably a mention, but I do want to keep the two worlds separate. Mostly I just have everything crossed that we can pick our way through the madness of the benefits system (everybody tells us to speak to somebody else!) and get going. Gently and sustainably.

      Here’s hoping 2015 brings both of us good things, healthwise and in the garden!

  10. It is lovely to hear you sounding so positive. The progress you’ve made in the garden is certainly a reason to feel good. Good luck with everything in 2015 and I look forward to hearing all about it when you have time.

    1. Hi Christina, it is lovely to be starting the year feeling so positive – even the sun is shining today! Happy 2015.

  11. I am glad to hear that things are going so well for you, Janet. You accomplished so much in your garden this past year, that I hope you can spend time just enjoying it this year while you tend to your other new activities. Wishing you success in your new ventures and a peaceful, happy, and healthy New Year!

    1. Hi Rose, thank you, yes, I hope to spend time sat in the back garden having a break from programming, preferably without feeling guilty about the weeds!! I hope 2015 brings you and your own lovely garden lots of good things.

  12. Oh great to see a post from you Janet :) I had wondered where you were and am delighted to hear that your absence has been for such positive reasons. Good luck with your venture and I look forward to hearing more about it sometime in the future. I am sure that you will work out the challenge of the work versus life balance and that there will be time for gardening. You must factor it in as part of your business plan! Have fun with that seed sorting, list making and happy growing in 2015 xxx

    1. Hello Anna, it is lovely to have made time to venture back into the blogosphere, I have missed it all. And you are so right, the balancing act has to be written in to the planning right from the beginning! Sustainability is the name of the game, and any sustainable life has to have time for gardening. And for blogging about it! Happy 2015, I look forward to sharing more gardening adventures with you. I wonder if that lovely new honesty plant will deliver non blotchy foliage…

  13. Janet, glad to hear you are feeling reasonably well and am intrigued by your new plans for the future. I will be sending good wishes your way this year and hope your dreams become reality. I smiled when I read that borage is taking over in your garden. I always read how it self seeds readily but here in my cold garden I only ever find a couple sprouts. I have to collect seed each fall to ensure I have more of it for the following year. Nothing like it in the veggie garden for attracting bees and other beneficial insects.

    1. Thank you Marguerite, it is going to be an exciting and challenging year, in and out of the garden! I have to admit I was taken aback at the borage and its voracious self seeding habit. I had been warned, but like you, never experienced a problem with it in my previous garden. I have learnt to my cost that seeds of all sorts love my free draining garden soil here on the coast, and pretty much everything self seeds with abandon. I am still learning to manage it… I hope 2015 brings you and yours lots of wonderful things, and may it be a wonderfully productive year in the garden.

  14. Hi Janet
    Glad to hear your absence is for positive reasons and I hope your plans come to fruition.
    I succumbed to an edgeworthia last Spring, it was in flower when it arrived and I think there are flower buds in it now. I don’t think I am as obsessive as you peering at them but I think there is potential for me to become so.
    Thanks for joining in with the meme this last year. I know you won’t be blogging so much in 2015 but it will be good to hear how you are doing from time to time

    1. Thank you Helen, me too! My Edgeworthia didn’t have any flower buds on it when I bought it, so the sight of so many has me very excited. I have the feeling that there are going to be quite a few people blogging and tweeting about Edgeworthia flowers… At least the foliage is wonderful too!

      I will hope to still be joining in with the EOMV meme this coming year, despite the challenges, the structure should help me remember to make time to garden in amongst all the new challenges…

      Happy 2015, I hope it is a good one for you.

  15. May your new plans yield good fruit. I understand this need for change, and how illness enforces it at times. Whatever you do, I wish you well at it–I wish it heartily! Susie

    1. Thank you Susie! Happy 2015, I hope the year brings you lots of good things.

  16. I would love to hear more about your fledgling business. It is always a balancing act and a challenge with the world changing ever faster around us, rendering some hard-earned skills obsolete. You have made friends here and I, for one, would love to support your efforts wherever possible. Happy New Year!

    1. HI Rickii, thank you so much for your encouraging words, I will certainly blog about it when it feels there is something to blog about, it all feels very new and slightly nebulous at the moment! Happy New Year to you too, I hope it is a good year for you and yours.

  17. You have done so much over the past year and I can’t wait to see all your new plants settling in and showing off this coming year! Good luck with the new business venture and a very Happy New Year Janet!

    1. Thank you Cathy, Happy New Year to you too. I am telling myself that weeding can be good thinking time so why not let it be business planning and combine the two…

  18. The Raspberries had me drooling! We have a share with a local farmer, through whom we receive reasonably priced, locally grown, organic vegs and fruits from May through November. Two years now, however, they have planned to give us Raspberries, but the crop has failed. No complaints, really, that’s how organic farming goes, but I’ve had a taste for fresh, organic Raspberries for a couple of years now. ;-) (Actually, I bought some at the store, taking a chance on the source.) Anyway, good work on your amazing garden, and I wish you all the best in the New Year!

    1. Hi Beth, the raspberries are rather droolable, if that is even a word… I hope your local supplier has a successful raspberry year, fresh organic raspberries are the perfect late summer treat. Happy New Year Beth, I hope it is a really good one for you.

  19. You have done so much in such a short time! Best wishes for reaching your goals. :) With your determination and intelligence, you would be a natural in the workplace. I love your erysium. It’s so hard to grow here.

    1. Thank you, lovely encouraging words! I hope 2015 is a great year for you Tammy, I look forward to reading more of your ever-humorous frequently wise posts about life and gardening.

  20. Good luck with your new venture, Janet. We’ve just had an air source heat pump installed at the Priory. I don’t suppose oil will remain cheap in the long term so I shouldn’t worry that you’ve made a bad choice. Dave

    1. Thank you Dave! its funny, so much is written about ASHPs only being suitable for modern and well insulated buildings, but I keep reading – and hearing – about successful installations in old and drafty buildings. I’m sure it is still a good long term choice, just a little galling right at the minute. Happy 2015!

  21. It’s good to read that you’re feeling upbeat at the moment, Janet. Having had a spell on benefits myself, I can completely agree with what you’re saying. In a world where people can be defined by ‘what they do’, it’s challenging not to have self-confidence and belief eroded away. As I get older, I often find pockets of cruelty in the world and prefer to choose how and when to interact. I decided a few years ago to become self-employed and now work half a week, leaving the other half for gardening. I do still run out of time (and money!) but it’s a simpler, more gentle life that works for me. I really wish you the very best with your plans for the future; I’m sure you’ll pull it off and have no regrets. Caro xxx

    1. Hi Caro, it sounds as if you have the kind of balance I am hoping to find, between work and the rest of life. I am certainly a big fan of a sustainable and gentle life that doesn’t turn me in to a headless chicken! Strange, isn’t it, the way we tend to get defined, at least casually, by what we do rather than who we are. I’ve done the full on full time job and consider myself hugely fortunate to have experienced such a fulfilling work life, but at this stage in my life I want more. Or do I mean less ;-) At least the years on benefits mean living on less will be easier than it would have been when I was younger! Happy New Year, I hope you manage to continue avoiding those pockets of cruelty.

  22. Good to hear what you’ve been up to even if it hasn’t involved much gardening in recent months – hope the business prospers and at a speed you can both cope with. Look forward to hearing more. I know there has been discussion on thoughtful placings before and I think you will just have to admit that you are better at it than a lot of the rest of us – definitely better than a ‘here’s a space’ method of planting! I meant to check our raspberries on Christmas Day as we (that means ‘I’) too have been picking since July – double cropping the autumn ones is such a worthwhile proposition, but it doesn’t help that I left a tub of them out of the freezer for 2 days and will now need to make jam with them… :(

    1. Oh, and meant to say I was reading recently about how much house prices have risen in your village, proportionately more than anywhere else in the UK I think

      1. Really?! I wonder if that is because of the new nuclear power plant looking like going ahead. I don’t suppose you remember where you read that?

        1. Hi Janet, yes it was in the Sunday Times, the Home section. I kept the article to mention it to you but may have recycled it by now. I seem to recall that it implied it was because it was a pretty place – certainly no mention of a nuclear power plant – and was quite incongruous compared with the other places on the list

    2. Thanks Cathy, were certainly going to give developing the business our very best shot! As to plant placement, I find it curiously enjoyable, being thoughtful about it, though like so many things, the more I do the more I realise how much more I have to learn!! As to doing it better than others, your claim of not placing thoughtfully just makes your many beautiful combinations even more impressive… Enjoy your jam making, I am going to try leaving some of my raspberries unpruned to get some earlier fruit this year, though I fear it just means they will have an even better stab at world domination!!

  23. Your garden does you great credit. You have accomplished so much. I am green with envy about the Edgeworthia. I have killed 2 now so perhaps I should give up trying.
    I wish you health and happiness for 2015 and every success with your new project.

    1. Hi Chloris, so sorry to hear about your pneumonia (Cathy’s blog comments), how miserable and debilitating. I wonder if the world is ready for the plans that will be unleashed once you have recovered your strength, I’ve no doubt that you have been dreaming up lots while you are forced to recuperate. Sorry about your Edgeworthia experiences, I am fortunate with both soil and climate, and so far so good, though mine nearly got turfed out last year as it went through a very manky period indeed! I think I scared it into making more of an effort…

  24. Oh, my gosh. I am so excited for you, Janet! I assumed you were having to lie low to conserve every last drop of energy for the holidays–I’m so glad you had some lovely times instead and are starting a new adventure! Sending all my best, most energy-boosting thoughts your way. Yay for you!

    1. Hi Stacy, thank you, it all feels quite strange, to be honest, but hugely exciting too. The trick will be to rein in the excitement enough to make smooth progress rather than going bust… But the thought of actually earning my own living again fills me with joy, so fingers – and toes – crossed!!

  25. I bid you the best of luck in your upcoming endeavors, both occupationally and horticulturally.

  26. Janet, I do hope you don’t mind that I’ve nominated you for a Liebster Award. You can find out more on my latest post.

    1. Thank you Angie’s that’s really kind of you, but I’m afraid I can’t accept. I really should put a “blog award free” thingy up, but its ages since anybody nominated me for one. I do really appreciate you thinking of me though.

  27. Your edgeworthia is definitely going to bloom! I have had my edgeworthia about three years, and it is turning into a beauty. Your winter garden has a lot going on, with so much color! I wish you the best with work and garden, and a balance that will bring you satisfaction and peace. Many blessings in 2015!

    1. Oh good, thank you for the encouragement Deb! I nearly gave up on it last spring, it got really manky, but fortunately it picked up and the foliage was wonderful all summer. Flowers will be magical…

  28. Glad to hear things are going so positively! You have so many lovely things going on in the garden. The Edgeworthia will be so pretty in bloom! It’s such an interesting plant. This year I’d love to plant some raspberry canes in my new garden. I had planted some in my old garden, but then we moved before they became mature. How awesome to still have raspberries around Christmas!

    1. Oooh, new garden, how exciting! Mine still feels new, though I’ve been here over two years now. You must plant raspberries though, so easy to grow, and so wonderfully tasty.

  29. A belated Happy New Year Janet, your blog went into my email box some days ago, but I am in a queue for internet access at home and I come last! I agree with your recommendation for Polka, we grow it here and its a prolific cropper too. Love that last photo, I was told when one went in my eye some years ago that its very lucky…. Good luck with your new venture too, hope its joyful.

    1. A queue for internet?! That would drive me nuts!! Poor you. Thank you for taking the time to comment. I’m not sure bird “gifts” in the eye can be considered lucky ;-)

  30. I love this post. It is so encouraging and filled with optimism. I hope 2015 is a fantastic year for you and that your new venture is everything you wish it to be. I will look out for Polka and I share your obsession with Edgeworthia buds!

    1. Thanks Sarah! Good to know I am not alone with my Edgeworthia obsession too…

  31. Janet I am always a little concerned when you have not posted for a while but it seems presumptious to leave an enquiring comment – certainly so since this time your silence has meant cooking up plans of a sufficiency that will free you both. Besides there is life beyond the garden (hard to believe sometimes) and your locale must often summon you further outdoors (can smell the spray in that top image).
    Your posts are a pleasure to read and a must for googling – have just checked on the blooms to be of Edheworthia :) Wishing you and yours all the best for the coming year and will look out for more posts from your garden-in-progress-that-has-progressed-so-well-so-far

    1. Hi Laura, nothing presumptuous about dropping an email, but I wouldn’t expect one either, kind of lovely to be missed though ;-) The Great Outdoors is a constant source of seduction, though our current adventure tends to keep me tethered to my computer, I have had to make myself go outside and enjoy the cold crisp winter sun and beautiful cliffs and beaches. TNG and I had a business meeting on the beach earlier this afternoon, which was a little chilly but perfectly sums up what we are aiming for!

      I am very excited about the Edgeworthia flowers-to-be, it is one of the (many!) plants I discovered through reading gardening blogs, like you I frequently find myself googling, it can take over an hour to get through a single post sometimes, when I keep finding things I like the look of and just have to make notes about!!

  32. How exciting! That all sounds so brilliant, I’m so pleased for you. I need the garden too like you but I seem to spend far too much time in front of a computer nowadays. ;) I have yet to find the balance so if you discover any tips please let me know. An edgeworthia is up there on my list of plants for a new garden. I await photos of yours in flower with anticipation. :)

    I hope it isn’t too late to wish you a Happy New Year. May 2015 be a fantastic one for you and TNG. Lou x

    1. Hi Lou, thank you! I think you might be waiting a while for any words of wisdom from me on striking a good balance…

      Hope you have a fabulous year too, with plenty of opportunities to relax and to garden, as well as stimulating and exciting work. The perfect balance ;-)

  33. Janet I am just loving the veg garden, trellises and the raspberry canes. All in all you have done so much in your garden and I can’t get over how gorgeous it looks in December. I am glad that your absence wasn’t health related but positive and I am so excited for you! And I am glad to hear you will be able to still do gardening this coming year. Wishing you a very Happy New Year!

    1. Thank you Donna, I am really happy to have it looking good at this time of year, it was something I never felt I quite got right in my previous garden. I really hope I manage to get enough gardening time to keep that side of me happy, I will certainly have to approach Spring a little differently this year, I won’t be able to care for the same number of plants as I have become used to growing. I hope you have a fabulous year yourself Donna, and that you get to really enjoy retirement and having more time to write and garden.

  34. I am late in getting here Janet, a truly marvellous post, the comments reflect your deserved popularity. Personally speaking, I can dwell too much in the past but not to the extent that is damaging. Glad everything seems to be on the up for you. Edgeworthia! have to get this one, perhaps I can sneak one into my reclaimed woodland area. Have a great year ahead.

    1. Hello Alistair, what a lovely comment, thank you. I think you and Myra would very much enjoy an Edgeworthia, and your woodland area sounds like the perfect location. Go on, you know it makes sense ;-) Happy 2015!

      1. Janet please delete this. the link I leave when placing a comment has started going directly to my google account and not my website. Just been tweaking it to see if I have this sorted out. sorry to be a pest.

  35. That sounds very exciting news! All the very best to both of you for the new venture. And it is amazing what you have achieved in your garden this last year. Now that you have the bones right I doubt if it will matter so much if you don’t spend quite so much time in it.
    I hope 2015 is going to be a great year for you.

    1. Thank you Elizabeth, it is exciting, and also exhausting, there is so much I want to do… Ah well! I do hope you are right about not needing to spend as much time now, but I fear the coming year will be a constant battle against the weeds. Mind you, weeding can be quite zen-like, so perhaps I can use it to clear my head and get the creative juices flowing.

      I hope the coming year is full of positive things for you too Elizabeth, I gather you are uncertain what the future holds at the moment, which must be very hard – it is a feeling I remember all too well. All the best xx

  36. I wish you well in your new business venture Janet, and hope it continues to flourish!
    What a busy year you have had in the garden, which will stand you in good stead for the coming yer when you will have less time, as you say.

    Loving ‘Winter Orchid’- I have baby which is not yet flowering but I can’t wait having seen yours !

    1. Thank you Jane! And yes, I am so very glad I got so much done in the back garden last year, it will make having less time to spend out there much easier. Though there is still the issue of the front garden…

  37. Wishing you the very best for 2015, with your garden and with your new ventures. You have achieved so much in your garden that I can’t imagine you wont achieve something wonderful with whatever you chose to do.

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