14 Sept 2019

Catching up with myself

Wild strawberries among greenery in urban garden

I feel an explanation is warranted.

This year, with the Blog of the Year winner’s trophy sitting on a nearby shelf at home, I’ve been shamefully neglectful of putting time aside to write.  Sometimes, the muse just disappears or there’s little to tell; but this time I actually have a few good reasons for my absence here.

First, I’ve been trotting over to Kew Gardens twice a week for six months, having decided in autumn of 2018 to treat myself to a course of part time study in planting design.  It was enlightening, inspiring and entertaining but also time consuming.  I just about managed to get some salad and veg seeds sown but my thoughts were elsewhere when it came to writing. Life happens.

Garden fork and plants in pots waiting to be planted in a garden border
The Car Park Garden, mid planting

At the same time, I had also decided (finally!) what I was going to do with the garden under my windows, which for ease is now known as The Car Park Garden. I’ll write about the redesign in more detail but suffice to say that it was never going to be a quick job as I had a ton or two of gravel and bricks to collect up, store and then redistribute around the new and completely changed layout.  And there was my rather extensive collection of  plants in pots to rehome (at last), plant by plant, bed by bed, shade versus sun - plenty to dither indecisively over - many cups of tea and a sit down on the bench were needed!

Giant letters RHS and stone arch surrounded by wild flowers
The RHS enthusiastically embracing wild flowers at Chelsea

And then there were garden shows. I popped along to the press day at both Chelsea and Hampton Court (sublime and spectacular) and took the train up to Gardener’s World Live at the NEC in June (delightful).

But surely the highlight of August, or possibly my entire year - an invitation to Mr Fothergill Seeds open day for the press! Held at their trial fields in the countryside near Newmarket in Suffolk, the day surpassed all my expectations.  O. M. G. The flowers! the veg! the tips from the gardeners! plus a goody bag loaded with new seeds and a delicious lunch with the good and the great of the gardening world - including bloggers Karen Gimson/Bramblegarden , Cynical Gardener June and Alison from The Blackberry Garden, all good friends and a pleasure to see again.

Ripe Hinnonmake red gooseberries growing next to yellow Achillea
Serendipitous colour combos - and fruit to eat - make me very happy!

On the home front, and getting on with it despite my flurry of extra curricular activities, the veg patch self seeded itself into a veritable cornucopia of loveliness; possibly not the most productive year but I’ve had salad leaves, asparagus, herbs, achocha, orache, raspberries, apples, tomatoes, kale, redcurrants, gooseberries and vases of flowers.  All self-seeded or perennial so minimal input from me! Bees and other pollinators are all over it; a little neglect goes a long way.

Brown Speckled Wood butterfly resting on green tomato leaves
One of the many pollinators to visit the garden this year - a Speckled Wood butterfly

All in all, with leaves starting to fall and the garden showing signs of autumn, it’s good to know that I still love growing food and other plants.  I confess I was feeling a bit demotivated at the beginning of the year but all is well, I feel I've reached a balance between garden work and garden enjoyment - and this year is the TENTH anniversary of this blog and I have plenty more to write about.

So, look out for posts on all of the above - I've been that busy that draft posts never quite made it to the finish line but I promise I'm now back on the blog scene!

Caro x


  1. Lovely to see you back and full of ideas. Looking forward to seeing how the new bed works out. Congratulations on ten years of blogging!xxx

    1. Ah, thank you, Dina! I'm putting together the story of the new garden as the transformation is quite dramatic. And with ten years blogging under my belt, I shudder to think of the hours that I've sat in front of my computer rather than being outside! Lol! xx

  2. Good to see you posting again. Well done on ten years blogging, I've done nearly fifteen! xx

    1. Ah, thank you, thank you - and can I just say that fifteen years is awesome, Mike! I hope I'm able to carry on and emulate you in five years time :D x

  3. I think you've been busy enough with all of that without adding blogging to the mix. I think our writing mojo does come and go, especially during busy times. Congratulations on keeping it going for ten years.

    1. Thanks, Jo - Although I love blogging, somehow the spontaneous and sparkling thoughts don't always transfer easily to the page! I find I need a clear space of time to sit and write - it's no good when food needs to be cooked or the garden needs attention! Life offers so many distractions!

  4. It sounds as if you've had a really busy but no doubt rewarding and enjoyable few months Caro. I'm looking forward to hearing more about all your activities and excursions in more detail soon. I will be coming up to that 10th anniversary of blogging too later this year! Little in the way of gardening or blogging at the moment as I have my right (dominant) hand in plaster at the moment. I did manage to go to get outside in yesterday's glorious sunshine and managed to sow a few seeds with my left hand which was rather challenging ��

    1. Sorry to hear about your hand, Anna; hope that plaster is off soon. I'm so glad that you're still blogging, I remember there were fewer of us ten years ago and it was easier to get to know each other. We early birds have to stick together (although I certainly wasn't among the first garden bloggers, who are also still going strong!) We're a resilient bunch, it seems! :D x

  5. Congrats on 10 years! What you described has happened a lot to me lately - the more I do in the garden and at gardening related events, the less time I have to write. For me, other aspects of my life tend to fall behind and I feel the need to catch up on them first. I too am about to embark on a rather extensive "remodel" of a couple of areas (the beds are rotting, which makes it the perfect time for a redo). Next year will be devoted to that and I will be scaling WAY back on growing veg as trying to do it all (which I've done in the past couple of years) is simply not working. P.S. Your latest post didn't update on my sidebar, for some reason - this has happened to me before (more than once) and sometimes it's something I've done while others it was a blogger issue - just thought I would let you know!

    1. Thanks for letting me know about your sidebar issue, Margaret - there's something up with Blogger at the moment as I have to switch browsers to leave comments on any blog, including my own! grrr. I have the same situation in the veg patch - rotting beds (10 years on, not bad though!) and I want to trim back on the veg. 63 tomato plants this year has taken up too much space! I look forward to seeing how you get on with the remodelling next year!


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