End of Year – 2013
It was better, much better than 2012. Things began quite well with a mild winter, until February/March when snow hit and repeatedly came back. It was never particularly deep, just time and time again. So plants which have previously survived much deeper snow, eventually succumbed to the repeated thaw, snow, thaw. I had to pull out a number of large, mature Erysimum that were not only crushed by the snow, large parts of them were completely dead.
Subsequently spring was a bit of hit and miss. After its early start with Snowdrops out early, almost all my tulips died, so late spring – May was a little barren until Alliums bloomed.
After this however, I’m quite happy with the last year. No real complaints for the rest of the year other than a very wet October hindered any autumn tidy/work as I planned to move a lot of plants to my parents’ ready for when I move. Instead it will have to wait until spring or whenever I move.
Because I have been planning on selling the house, 2013 I took a step back from the garden and mostly left it alone successfully managing to resist buying plants other than those to fill gaps from snow killed plants.
The main thing which stands out to me in 2013 is the boom in wildlife – Bees and Butterflies most notably. However, there was also a very clear and disturbing lack of Ladybirds. I am extremely worried about them and only saw at most a handful of red ones (including only one Harlequin). I did, however see a fair number of yellow and black ladybirds. I hope their numbers bounce back in 2014. Wasp numbers were also exceedingly low and they only arrived in the garden very late – I think around May or June when I saw my first. I wasn’t the only person to notice the lack of wasps though, and remember seeing articles on the BBC saying the same.
I don’t actually really remember it snowing in January, but obviously it was quite deep. It can’t have hung around too long though otherwise it would’ve stuck in my memory… Despite the snow, there were still signs of life and early spring plants continued to bloom.
Into February we go, and the garden is moving along nicely, my only concern was that only the white or ‘niger’ Hellebores were blooming; the rest struggled with the snow and many buds died just as they were about to bloom because of the repeated snow/thaw combination.
Finally, March and spring is definitely here, the first signs of insect life emerging as the first Hoverflies are seen enjoying the crocus and the sun. Late snows hit us, still and this is where most damage occurred as plants are beginning to produce new growth but was killed off.
More wildlife in the shape of Butterflies emerge; I think this is perhaps the earliest I’ve ever seen them. I don’t tend to get Butterflies early on in the year – here they boom in July-September. As I had planned to move, many spring bulbs were planted in pots ready to be taken with me. The result was fantastic pots full to bursting with crocus. Whether they’ve survived though, remains to be seen.
For the first time my Meconopsis bloomed! And what a lovely sight it was… I will need to get/have more. I’m not sure they will bloom in 2014 as it was quite dry and they are not in a moist/boggy area. As always I fell in love with forget-me-nots… No surprises there for my regular readers.
This year, was the year of the Geum. I couldn’t stop photographing them… They were so beautiful, especially during ‘golden hour’ when the sun is low/set; a little before twilight.
The first of the Cinnabar moths appeared in July, in previous years I’d only seen one or two but this year it turned out I had lots. And even more caterpillars. Luckily I also had lots of Ragwort self-seeded around the garden; handy for the Cinnabar caterpillars and Gatekeeper and Small Copper butterflies love to feed on them.
For the first time Echinops bloomed and I hadn’t ever heard anyone mention just how much Bees love them! Amazing. Plus, my Angel’s fishing rod bloomed again; double winner. These however were over-shadowed by having Small Coppers in the garden again; I had worried because the previous year was so wet I wasn’t sure if I’d see any again.
September brings with it the first signs of autumn as the garden begins to fade, plants lost their vibrant greens and are less floriferous. At least butterflies were still around and the grasses begin to shine.
October was so wet, I barely managed many photos. It also meant any plants which had begun to change colour kind of stopped changing and ended up rotting instead of being pretty. The rain also meant October was still quite warm and it wasn’t until November when the rain stopped and cooler temperatures arrived that I saw any nice autumnal tones.
November actually was OK, with some golden tones but also still enough blooms and green around that it wasn’t too depressing. It’s always a pleasure to see roses late into the year, and Harlow Carr kept going until well into December.
December is the month not only for festivities, but also for spotting signs of spring… trying not to get too carried away, as there’s still plenty of time for snow to arrive. I’ve attempted some gardening, but we’ve been receiving one winter storm after another, after another. I just can’t get outside. I mustn’t complain though, as I could have it as bad as other parts of the country which are currently under floods. For once I guess I should be grateful Sheffield is built on 7 hills, and in this case somewhat protected in the west by the Peak District as the winds haven’t been *too* bad.