Our Suffolk Cottage Garden: 2016

With so much focus on infrastructure in the previous years, this year became a year that focused on ‘beautifying’ the garden, so to speak. The year began without the snowfall we had become accustomed to and, while I love a heavy snowfall, it was actually a welcomed change. I wanted to crack on with progressing the garden and had there have been snowfall, then it would be enitirely possible that gardening would have to wait until as late as mid February for any major snowfall to clear. I was relieved that I could just get on with things.

I don’t know about you but, with that refreshed feeling I get from there being a start to a new year, I want to get outside and get the last traces of winter cleaned up, ready for the warmer seasons.

We set about cleaning up fallen leaves and twigs and I set to work on the flower beds; again clearing away debris from prior seasons and planning out what we will aim to plant. Tasks, such as these, take me considerable time. I have to pace myself, or end up in physical difficulty. Parkinson’s (though at that time my symptoms were not diagnosed) is not the friend of a gardener or artist, for that matter.

I also take a look at any excess growth that may have occurred on wall growing vines, the hedgerow and the trees. Usually, these are all fine but some years we may have fallen trees, broken branches and other bad weather damage to fences, for example. How do you start your year in your garden?

To add a little more structured-in beauty to the garden, we invested in some additional new flower pots, of various sizes. With our flower beds, these were planted up with perrenials and bedding plants. These are often the usual suspects, as a core; geraniums, petunia, lavendar, lobelia, fuscia and more of that type. It is about adding colour to the garden while maintaining a cottage style and a sense of authenticity.

I put down a new line of laurel bushes at the end fence of the garden. This would eventually ensure that the cars in the driveway will no longer be visible from the garden, itself. These would, however, not be visible for a while as they really were young and they need the opportunity to grow.

The hedgerow continued to flourish. We did clip the hedge before the bird nesting season began. Once the bird nesting is over, out we go again with the clippers. I’m always amazed at how fast the hedgerow grows. What was particularly nice was the unexpected growth of Cow Parsely, amid the hedge.

Do you keep a hedgerow? What are the plants within it? Do birds nest within your hedge? Please feel free to share something about your pwn garden, in the comments below. May I just take a moment to advocate for the hedgerow? We need more hedges. They are the highways and store cupboards of the animal world. Please please, don’t just erect a fence. Create the opportunity for life. If you do place a fence, please then place a hedgerow at the front of it. It is great for wildlife and looks far nicer for people to enjoy.

This series of articles about the progression of our Suffolk Cottage Garden, each year, started with ‘2009.’ Why not now take a look back at my article about that year and you will see from the photos, just how changed the garden had become by 2016.

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