2011 has seen a tremendous amount of change here at Hillwards.
The snow last December did a marvellous job at concealing the piles of rubble and rubbish, but we have finally cleared away most of this construction debris from the front and rear gardens, erected fences around our boundaries, paved around the house, planted native hedging along the side and a beech hedge along the front boundary, dug out preliminary borders and planted them, resown or turfed the lawns and generally begun to create a real garden from the ruins.
In the kitchen garden, there were ups and downs: new crops that we shall try again include cavolo nero, florence fennel and celeriac. The cabbages beneath their smart cages still required more vigilance than we could find time for this summer, but were less riddled with caterpillar holes than last year’s. One of the key lessons that we reminded ourselves time and again through the summer was to leave more space between crops so that we can weed them and harvest more easily: always so hard when you are already trying to plant more than you have space for!
It has been a tremendously busy and productive year for us though, and I look forward to continuing to shape the garden next year while finding more time to enjoy it (and perhaps a little less landscaping effort!). In other aspects, the coming year is going to be a difficult one for us at times, with some dark days on our horizon, but it will bring good days too and I shall try and seize onto those to get us through the hard times.
The cupboard is overflowing with packets of seed to sow in the spring, growing seedlings nestle on windowsills and in the greenhouse, and in the garden buds and shoots already start to show their promise for the months to come. I wish each and every one of you a wonderful New Year: may your cup overfloweth with health, happiness and hope for a bright year ahead.