I am worried about 2021. We all crossed our fingers that it would be better than 2020 but there was no radical change on January 1. The wall to wall Covid news coming out of the UK, Ireland, Europe and USA is unrelenting and disturbing. The trans-Tasman travel bubble so many of us are waiting for looks to be on hold with outbreaks in Sydney and Melbourne. And the transition of power in USA looks more dangerously unstable than the usual peaceful and orderly process. My thoughts go out to those readers in more dangerous parts of the world.
All I have to offer is summer.
All spring, it was the newest of the summer gardens, the Court Garden where the main plantings are grassy-themed, that brought me the most pleasure. As I walked out to do my morning rounds, it was there that I chose to linger the longest.
As December progressed and now that we are into January, the borders have taken over pride of place on my morning perambulations. They bring me much delight and while I can see a couple of areas that I will tweak, overall, I am happy with them. The borders have the most complex plantings and that means there is more of a succession of blooms.
The auratum lily border is the only garden we have that is dedicated to a single plant genus. It only stars for one month of the year and that will happen soon. The entire length holds the promise of so much with the mass of buds fattening and starting to show colour.
The Wave Garden has its good sections and the flowering of the blue bearded iris in early November was a delight. But I have been reworking some bays that I was not so happy with so it is a bit patchy overall at this stage.
The growth in the Court Garden is nothing short of phenomenal and I am looking nervously at the abundant Miscanthus ‘Morning Light’ but thrilled at the flowering on Stipa gigantea this season. Being sterile, the flowering lasts a long time. It really is the immersive experience I planned for.
The Iolanthe garden is very different with its casual wildness and mass of blooms both planted and self-seeded. I am doing a bit of maintenance – well, I say a bit, but really I am wheeling out barrow-loads of seeding forget-me not, parsley and spent foxglove flower spikes. Fortunately, the weed infestation is nowhere near as bad as I feared and it has the appeal of an artfully casual cottage garden, very different to the other summer gardens.
May you stay safe and find hope where you can.