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December 2007

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Revamped flower beds, heavy work in the pool and wildlife highlights

2007 was one of the most challenging years I ever remember in the garden. It was difficult to get the grass cut at times and, on our heavy soil, we were frequently waterlogged. On the plus side, the newly planted apple trees grew strong and healthy. In fact, all woody plants grew very well this year. Also because of the mild wet weather, it was possible to move almost anything at anytime - between the showers of course. We took full advantage of this and re-organised a number of the flower beds that were passed their best. All divisions and transplants settled in without any bother. But all that was work and there was little opportunity to enjoy the results.

Just when we had all but given up on the year, along came September. The sun shone, and the roses, miserable all summer, excelled. The autumn herbaceous continued into November - orange Crocosmia ‘Emily Mc Kenzie', white Aster lateriflorus, blue Aster frikartii, red and yellow kniphofia and yellow kirengeshoma joined forces with the best hydrangea flowers I've ever had, and the red and yellow foliage of the acers, to make this autumn one to remember. All this and the roses still going strong - wonderful!

One of the big tasks that we undertook this year was the re-making of our small pool. It was heavy work. Ralph spent days emptying it, draining it and removing the sludge that had built up on the bottom over the years. It is now re-lined, re-filled and will be re-planted in the spring. It looks wonderful.

Just when we had all but given up on the year, along came September. The sun shone, and the roses, miserable all summer, excelled.

I noticed that one Robert Hall passed away this year. From the obituary in the Irish Times I learned that he was the owner of ‘Narrow Water Estate' in Northern Ireland and it was there that the climbing rose Rosa ‘Narrow Water' originated. I have grown it for years and it flowers all summer and well into the autumn. It has pink semi-double scented flowers. I also understand from a friend, who visited Narrow Water lately, that the rose was no longer in the garden. I had a lot of visitors from Northern Ireland in the garden this year, but few of them had heard of this rose. I sent a good number of them back with cuttings so maybe it will find its way back to its garden of origin.

The wildlife highlights in our garden were numerous but two in particular stand out. Firstly, a   young fox played with the garden hose as we sat looking out at him. I wonder was he the same, now full-grown, adult fox we saw a few weeks ago? A splendid fellow, he was huge, and glowed orange in the low winter sun. The second highlight was finding the eggs of a ladybird on the back of a nasturtium leaf. They were like vivid, green, round pinheads all closely packed together. I watched their progress each day as the eggs changed colour and after a few weeks they became little tiny ladybirds. They were brown at this stage and went on their way within two days.




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